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Desolation and hope in CAR as Christians cling to prayer

3 November 2016

“Every day that goes by brings its share of desolation and consolation. Desolation, as diabolic activity has become ever more apparent since the arrival of the Seleka [Islamist militants] in the CAR and the consequences of UN intervention. Consolation, as the prayers of God's children around the world continue to make all the difference in the nation and the church can still have hope,” writes Barnabas Fund’s contact in the Central African Republic (CAR).

He adds, “It can never be said enough the Seleka have changed the course of our country's history, through sheer barbarity but also in terms of socio-religious relations ... For all that, we do not despair. A number of teaching and training sessions have been held recently in various parts of the country, to strengthen the church. The work of rebuilding, or re-founding, the church in the CAR on new spiritual foundations continues, as we remain convinced that only God can save us.”

Claims of corruption within international relief and peacekeeping organisations are widespread. Our contact reports that trauma victims are paid for their amputated limbs, with NGO medical staff engaged in demonic practices, similar to the cannibalistic rites used by Seleka militants to attempt to make them impervious to bullets.

As well as attacks on Christians by Seleka in northern CAR, violence by Fulani Muslim militia in the west of the country is also spreading alarmingly.

“Many like me, in our naivety and credulity, expected UN forces to come and put an end to the indescribable suffering of the people, since there is no longer any national army to ensure the security of the population. [But] UN troops here have killed more civilians than they have rebel fighters.” Last week, UN soldiers opened fire on civilians protesting against the violence in the north of the country. The Christian community no longer has confidence in the ability of the 12,000-strong UN force to protect them from Seleka violence.

But there are moments of hope.

Our contact concludes, “Our part of town [in Bangui] was deserted last night, all the inhabitants having fled. There have been clashes between the different factions of the Seleka, with several of the leaders killing each other. It's like those stories in the Bible where God caused the enemies of Israel to turn their swords against each other. What the anti-Balaka are not able to do, what MINUSCA [the UN] have refused to do and what FACA – the CAR armed forces – would not dare to do, God has done. Thank you for praying.”