CAR: Leaders attacked. Christians killed.

October 16, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world, Persecution


The people of CAR have seen their country plunged into chaos

The people of CAR have seen their country plunged into chaos

Africa, October 08, 2013: Two church leaders were tied up and robbed by armed men in the latest assault on Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has descended into lawlessness and brutal violence at the hands of Islamist militants.

Missionary Beniamino Gusmeroli and local Christian Martial Mengue were attacked at their mission station at Bouar in the north of the country on the evening of 27 September.

A group of five men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles bound the hands of the doorkeeper and threatened to kill him. They forced him to show them to one of the leaders’ rooms.

Mr Gusmeroli said, “I was sleeping when around 11pm I heard a knock at the door. I went out and found myself with a Kalashnikov pointed at my nose. I tried to keep the gunman calm, but he began to threaten me.

After a few kicks I was forced to sit in the chair next to the bed, where they had me tied up with adhesive tape at three points: mouth, eyes and ears.

Mr Mengue was also bound and gagged, and both leaders had their rooms ransacked. The attackers took money, computers and everything else of value. Mr Mengue was then taken hostage, though he was released some hours later.

CAR has been in a state of acute disorder since a coalition of Islamist rebels, “Seleka”, seized control of the country on 24 March. The militants launched a reign of terror against the country’s Christians, robbing, wounding and killing individuals and destroying churches, businesses and homes.

Neither missionaries nor indigenous Christians have been spared. On 16 September, Italian missionary Aurelio Gazzera was beaten by Seleka fighters when he visited their base to ask for the release of prisoners. He said:

The commander answered that they were soldiers and could do what they liked… [Another leader] threatened me with a pistol and hit me in the face.

And also last month, Seleka militia attacked Christians in Bossangoa, killing at least 100 civilians and setting homes and church buildings on fire.

Church leaders within and beyond CAR have highlighted the persecution of Christians, and their concerns have been echoed by the International Federation for Human Rights’ representative at the United Nations.

Speaking to Morning Star News, Michelle Kissenkoeter said, “Certainly we have seen targeting of Christians. We have seen selective attacks on Christians and their churches.” She said that Seleka forces are operating without authority and commit violence with impunity because of the breakdown of law and order. Chaos reigns in the country because there is “no army, no police, no judiciary, no national security”.

The Islamist president of CAR, Michel Djotodia, announced on 13 September that the 25,000-strong Seleka militia had been dissolved and said that they would be treated as “bandits”. But they are continuing to pillage and kill, apparently without restraint from security forces.

The UN reports that some 400,000 of CAR’s population of five million have fled their homes. A church leader in CAR said that the whole population was “trapped like in a concentration camp”.

And Mr Gazzara asked, “How long is this hell going to continue?”

– barnabas team

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