10 June 2020

Fourteen-year-old Indian Christian boy brutally murdered by extremists in Orissa

The butchered remains of Samaru Madkami, a 14-year-old Christian boy, were found by police on 6 June after he was tortured and killed by a group of assailants in Malkangiri district, Orissa (now called Odisha) state, India.

Martyred Samaru Madkami, 14, was a “passionate Christian” [Image credit: Persecution Relief]

Martyred Samaru Madkami, 14, was a “passionate Christian” [Image credit: Persecution Relief]

On 4 June, the group persuaded Samaru to come with them to a meeting in the jungle near Kenduguda village. They tortured Samaru before slitting his throat and smashing his head with a rock. His body was then buried by his attackers.

Police arrested a number of suspects on the night of the incident. During interrogations, some of the local youths arrested confessed to the murder and disclosed the location of the attack, leading to the police discovery of Samaru’s horrifically mutilated body.

The family of the victim lodged a missing complaint at the Malkangiri Police Station on 5 June, a day after filing a “First Information Report” (FIR) with police on the night Samaru went missing. In the report, the family, who converted to Christianity three years ago, mentioned that they had been subjected to “harassment” by local villagers.

The gang also abducted Samaru’s elder cousin, Unga, on the same night and threatened to kill him with knives. Unga managed to escape and reported the incident to the police. He later spoke with Persecution Relief, a regional Christian charity, about the ordeal and described a previous attack. “The fanatics had tried to tie me up in jute bag and throw me in the river,” he said.

Samaru’s father, a local church elder, has received death threats in the past. He was away from the village taking his daughter to hospital on the night of the incident.

Samaru’s pastor was “inconsolable” on hearing of the boy’s death. Sobbing, Pastor Bijay said, “Samaru was a passionate Christian. He always shared the Gospel with youth and children from the village.” He recalled Samaru’s recent words to him, “If anything happens to my pastor, I will not fear. I will take charge of pastor’s work and serve the Lord!”

Regional Christian leaders said that, while similar killings have been seen in Kandhamal, this is the first time they have heard of such a “shocking and devastating” incident in Malkangiri district.

In a spate of disturbing attacks were reported in Kenduguda village over the past month, three incidents of religious extremists attempting to tie up Christians in jute sacks in order to throw them in the river were reported. In another incident, extremists attempted to set fire to two Christians.

From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources