Two Christian brothers were shot dead and three of their brothers were among several others injured after armed Muslims opened fire in Punjab, Pakistan in a dispute over the irrigation of fields.

Yaqoob Masih died at the scene as he and his four brothers watered their land in the Okara region on 9 October. Their brother Haroon died from his injuries in hospital. At the time of writing, three other brothers, Zakir, Nusrat and Babar, are said to be stable in hospital. Several other Christians were wounded in the incident.

Relatives grieve for the two brothers killed by Muslims in a dispute over water

Police drew up a First Information Report against twelve Muslim men whose names were given to them by a witness to the shootings. Six Muslims have since been arrested and are being held in custody.

Asif Munawar, a human rights activist who visited the site of the shooting and attended the funeral, said the Christian community was frightened.

The community, said Munawar, “calls on the government of Pakistan to be better protected as a religious minority and that the culprits be arrested as soon as possible”.

In May 2021 eight Christians suffered fractured bones after a mob of around 200 Muslims attacked the small Christian community of Chak 5 in the Okara region. The dispute began when a Muslim man accused three Christians of throwing dust at him when they cleaned the entrance of the village church.

From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources

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This article originally appeared on Barnabas Fund/News