At least 18 Christians have been killed in several incidents in the capital city of the Central African Republic, Bangui, and the northern province of Nana Gbrebizi in the last month.
Local media are reporting that on 11 February a man known only as Aladji tried to stab a taxi driver in Bangui. However, the taxi driver was able to overpower Aladji and stabbed him to death. Aladji’s body was later discovered at the Ali Abolo mosque in KM5, a Muslim dominated region of the city.
The discovery led a group of Muslims to march to the Christian region of the city, where they killed at least 16 Christians and injured others; some were decapitated. Authorities arrested ten members of Seleka, the Muslim-dominated militant group, following the killings.
Further north, in the Nana Grebizi province, heavily armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked the villages on 15 February. During the attack they killed two Christians, Pastor Arouneka David of the Apostolic Church Mbrès and Sanze Gervais, the son of Pastor Choisi Daniel. Open Doors has also been told that the attackers tortured Pastor Yanike Pierre of the Comité Baptiste Church at Boto. Later that week two other pastors were abducted by the herdsmen in other incidents.
The herdsmen allowed their cattle to graze on farmland belonging to Christians, looted the local population and set fire to the bush. The blaze quickly spread and destroyed swathes of farmland, at least eight churches, several other mission centres and an unknown number of Christian homes.
Tension in the area has caused many Christians to flee. Local sources report that as many as 2,000 people are taking refuge at the Catholic church and in other refugee camps. Pastor Enza Vincent of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Kaga-Bandoro expressed concern over the conditions they are facing; hunger, lack of clothing and insufficient shelter are all serious challenges.
“We want peace, people want to get peace, carry on our daily activities without any problem, in peace. But unfortunately, we are suffering here. People don’t have food, there is malnutrition everywhere; many of them have lost everything they had, their houses have been burnt… There are thousands of Christians who are suffering,” commented the pastor.
How can we respond? In the short term, Open Doors is able to provide emergency relief; in 2014 we provided 9,000 people with rice, beans, cassava flour, oil, salt, sugar and soap.
In the longer terms we are also providing trauma counselling to many who have witnessed horrific things. One pastor who received this counselling said: “I had to watch rebels tie nooses around two of my children’s necks, threatening to hang them if I didn’t surrender my oldest son to them.” The demand placed the pastor in an impossible dilemma. Thankfully the attackers lost interest and left, but the pastor was left feeling guilty and confused. “I now understand why I feel the way I do… This knowledge freed me.”
We are also providing training for pastors and micro-loans to help widows start small businesses to support their families, amongst other project. Our operations in CAR have continued despite the recent violence – but none of our work would be possible without your support.
Source: Open Doors
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.