Central African Republic sectarian violence—June 29, 2017
Since June 20, hundreds more have been killed in new waves of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since June 23 alone, more than 200 have died in the city of Bria. Tragically, this recent round of conflict was sparked after a peace agreement was signed on June 19 in Rome. Thirteen out of 14 of CAR’s armed groups signed the agreement, which was almost immediately disregarded.
The fighting left bodies strewn on the streets, and fires and lootings broke out across Bria. Because of the volatile climate across the country, one-fifth of CAR’s people have fled their homes. An estimated half million are refugees in surrounding nations, and a similar number are in refugee camps outside of CAR.
Understanding the fighting
Although most nations north of Central African Republic (CAR) are largely Muslim, CAR has had a stronger Christian influence due to ministries such as Baptist Mid-Missions and Catholic missionary work. It is important to understand that designation of “Christian” includes those who are genuinely born again and those who align with Christian teachings but are not necessarily born-again. Especially in the mainstream news media, the label often describes non-Muslims who have no strong connection to Christianity.
2013—Between the late 1990s and 2013, CAR experienced several uprisings from rival militant groups, but peace had loosely been restored. In 2013, Muslim Seleka rebels seized the capital, Bangui. Anti-Balaka militias fought back. Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes.
2015–2016—The country experienced relative peace, enabling people to return to their homes and plant gardens to provide for their families’ needs.
2017—Violence returned, especially in areas outside of Bangui. Seleka has since splintered into factions, some of whom are fighting with each other. Since May 2017, the town of Bria has seen repeated clashes because of rival factions who live there. An estimated one million of CAR’s people now live as refugees.
Come alongside Christians in CAR
Once again, our Christian brothers and sisters in CAR are asking for help as their needs become dire. The most pressing need is for people to pray for peace in this country. Your prayers will genuinely minister to believers undergoing unspeakable, long-term suffering. The greatest physical need in this region is for food, because fighting makes it unsafe to commercially transport these commodities. Other needs, such as shelter for refugees, are also a concern. Please consider a gift to the World Relief program, designated for CAR, to help with these needs. For more information on giving methods, click here.
More than ever, the people of CAR need our help through both prayer and World Relief assistance. We can help these believers carry the weight of their unjust suffering. From all of us at Baptist Mid-Missions, thank you for your compassionate concern and care for the body of Christ around the world.
For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
Banner photo: ©EU/ECHO/M.Morzaria | https://www.flickr.com/photos/eu_echo/9429629561/in/photostream/