C hristian communities in the Central African Republic (CAR) continue to be the target of violent attacks, despite a ceasefire between the government and 14 rival rebel groups that was signed in Rome in June 2017.
Islamist armed groups such as the Seleka and Fulani militias have attacked Christian communities and their leaders, and burned down churches. They have also destroyed Christian homes, killed many, and forced thousands to flee. Christians face regular threats of violence and kidnapping from militant Muslim Fulani herdsmen.
In 2019, two pastors were shot dead by Muslim militants while travelling in their car on Christmas Day. In November 2018, at least 40 Christians were killed, a church burnt and 20,000 fled when extremists attacked a Christian mission in Seleka stronghold, Alindao. In May 2018, Christians were forced to flee their neighbourhood when armed Muslim groups rampaged through the capital burning homes and killing at least 15, including the pastor, in an attack on a church.
The UN declared it “highly worrying” that attacks on Christians have continued, despite the presence of the UN’s own peacekeeping
The CAR is a majority Christian country. Most of the 15% Muslim population are in the north-eastern part of the country bordering Chad and Sudan. The Seleka are a powerful force which, under their leader Michel Djotodia, overthrew the CAR government and held power from 2013–2014. The regime committed many abuses including pillage, execution-style murders, rape and torture.
Despite the 2017 ceasefire agreement, and the continued presence of UN and other peacekeeping forces, the country remains susceptible to outbreaks of violence. This is mostly between the Seleka and the “anti-balaka” militia – who misleadingly call themselves Christians, despite their actions being condemned by church leaders.
Pray that the parties to the ceasefire will keep to their agreements and reject violence. Ask God to protect Christians and all innocent civilians, especially church leaders who are a particular target of the Islamist militants. Pray that Christians will be filled with peace as they respond to their suffering in a Christ-like way.