Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By CNA/EWTN News

12/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A year of violence threatening the stability of the Central African Republic has escalated in recent weeks, leaving more than one million people in need amidst calls for foreign aid and warnings of the potential for genocide.

There has been shooting on the streets and people hacked to death with machetes on the streets of central Africa republic's capital of Bangui.

There has been shooting on the streets and people hacked to death with machetes on the streets of central Africa republic's capital of Bangui.

Highlights

By CNA/EWTN News

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: CAR, Africa, starvation


BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, December 10 (CNA/EWTN News) -  "In the capital Bangui, where I am, there has been shooting on the streets and people hacked to death with machetes," said Renee Lambert, Catholic Relief Service's country manager in the Central African Republic.

"Tens of thousands of people are camped out at makeshift (internally displaced person) camps throughout the city or sheltering with host families, hoping that the arriving French troops can quell the violence."

Lambert told CNA Dec. 8 that the "people of CAR have been living in a state of perpetual fear and uncertainty for almost a year now," and the situation has become "desperate."

The Central African Republic was engulfed in a war from 2004 to 2007, but violence broke out again in December, 2012. On March 24, Seleka rebels ousted the president and installed their own leader in a coup.

The Seleka have since been officially disbanded, but its members have not disarmed, and reports indicate that they are continuing to  plunder the country through looting, torture and rape.

Of the country's population of some 4.5 million, more than 460,000 have been displaced from their homes by this year's violence, the U.N. estimates. Last week, 394 people were killed in the capital Bangui alone, according to the Red Cross.

Nearly three weeks ago, on Nov. 21, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told television station France 2 that "the country is on the verge of genocide," as the violence seems to have become increasingly sectarian, pitting Christians and Muslims against each other.

"The people of CAR need our help," stressed Lambert. "We cannot turn away from what is happening here - it cannot be ignored . if we stand aside and watch we will never forgive ourselves."

"History teaches us lessons and I only hope that this time we listen to our past. The situation is already horrific."

Both France and the African Union have increased the presence of their forces in the nation, in an effort to contain the violence. Last week, France deployed 1,600 soldiers to the Central African Republic, and the African Union is increasing the size of its force in the country from 2,500 to 6,000.

Abbot Dieu-Béni Mbanga, who is chancellor of the Bangui archdiocese, explained in letters that violence erupted in earnest in the capital beginning Dec. 5.

"Some residents caught between warring parties stayed holed up at home; others found refuge in churches and with religious communities. By mid-morning, the parishes of St. John of Galabadja and Bangui's Cathedral of Our Lady the Immaculate had taken in some 1,000 people."

Four more parishes in the Bangui archdiocese received more than 10,000 additional displaced persons throughout the day, he reported. "Church facilities also took in the wounded who have been without medical care until now."

Some parishes were threatened by ex-Seleka, and others came under fire. In a Dec. 7 letter, Abbot Mbanga wrote that "Church structures continue to take in people who fear for their lives, including some Muslims who are afraid they will be the targets of revenge attacks by Christians who themselves have been the victims of reprisals at the hand of other Muslims, Seleka militants or others."

"It will take time, much time, for the Central African Republic to heal from these wounds."

The latest spate of violence has not been restricted to Bangui; Lambert related that it "has also picked up in the northwest." In Bossangoa, 200 miles north of the capital, "tensions have again escalated. Food is scarce, water also. People are living in really cramped conditions, sleeping where they can on mats on the ground."

Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Bossangoa are providing support to more than 40,000 people who have been displaced and have sought refuge in at the Catholic mission in the city, as well as those who have taken refuge at "Catholic missions and schools" in Bouar.

"We've also been giving out food vouchers in the Lobaye Prefecture that people can exchange for local produce, so that needy families are fed and local markets are supported," Lambert explained. "Seeds and tools were distributed earlier in the year so that people could once
again grow their own produce - as most had lost out on a growing season due to the violence."

Lambert also reflected that the fighting "has taken on unfortunate religious dimensions, dividing Christians and Muslims who have always lived together peacefully in the past."

"We stand with those in need, whether they're Christian or Muslim," she said.

In recent months, Central Africans have responded to the ex-Seleka by forming militias of their own, called anti-balaka, and violence has flared. The anti-balaka - meaning anti-machete in the Sango language - have been characterized by the BBC as "Christian self-defense militias" and as "local Christian militias" by The Independent.

In a Dec. 7 statement, the bishops of the Central African Republic stated, "we condemn the transgressions committed by both armed factions, the anti-balaka and the ex-Seleka."

The bishops added that the fighting is not solely divided by religion, explaining that "not all anti-balaka are Christians and that not all Christians are anti-balaka," and that "the same is true for ex-Seleka and Muslims."

The Central African Republic is among the world's poorest countries, with extremely low human development and major human rights abuses; the U.N. has indicated it is in danger of becoming a failed state. More than one million are in urgent need of food aid.

It borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, and South Sudan, many of which have experienced dramatic upheavals of their own in recent years.

The violence has forced many nonprofits to withdraw to Bangui, leaving the remainder of the country helpless. Doctors Without Borders reported in July that the country's health care system has collapsed.In parts of the Central African Republic, malaria cases have doubled in the past year.

"The French and African Union forces are arriving and we just hope that order can be restored, and that people can live in peace once again," Lambert reflected.

"This beautiful country and its people need - and deserve - our help."

-----

Catholic Online is teaming up with Your Catholic Voice Foundation to answer the call from Pope Francis to feed the world. You are asked to pray and act with the Holy Father. Please click the link below to see how you can answer Pope Francis' call to action.



---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Africa

Nun fatally attacked in South Sudan Watch

Image of Sister Veronika Terzia Rackov was shot by three soldiers and died from her injuries (irishexaminer).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

A Slovak nun and medical doctor died Friday from gunshot wounds she suffered in an attack in Yei, South Sudan last week. Juba, South Sudan (CNA/EWTN News) - Sister Veronika Terézia Racková was shot and wounded by three soldiers on May 16, and died from her injuries ... continue reading


'Everything published about this matter is completely false': Confusion erupts over EgyptAir Flight 804 crash Watch

Image of Egyptian officials are unable to keep their story straight (Eco Clement/UPI).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Conflicting stories have emerged concerning recently downed EgyptAir Flight 804. While Greek officials claim the plane swerved before falling off radar, one Egyptian official claims human remains indicate an explosion, while yet another claim by Egyptian officials ... continue reading


Terrorism?: EgyptAir flight 804 lost at sea Watch

Image of An EgyptAir flight was likely downed due to an act of terrorism (Popoff/Lemerg).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sixty-six people remain missing after EgyptAir flight 804 disappeared from radar above the Mediterranean Sea Wednesday night. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The airline reported the flight was on its way from Paris to Cairo when ground control lost contact with ... continue reading


First missing Chibok girl returned to family after 2 years with Boko Haram Watch

Image of After two years as a Boko Haram prisoner, one young girl (not pictured) was rescued and reunited with her family (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Over 200 Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Nigeria's terrorist organization Boko Haram over two years ago. At least 57 have escaped Boko Haram and one of those brave, victimized girls was recently rescued by the Nigerian army. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At ... continue reading


#BringBackOurGirls: 219 of the Boko Haram kidnapped schoolgirls remain missing two years later Watch

Image of Boko Haram continues to persecute Christians and abduct girls as young as 8-years-old.

By Loredana Vuoto (CNA/EWTN News)

Two years ago, radical Islamists with the militant group Boko Haram stormed a school in Chibok, Nigeria, kidnapping 276 teen girls. The event initially sparked global outrage, with high-profile personalities taking pictures on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag, ... continue reading


Extremely young girls dreadfully raised and trained to become suicide bombers Watch

Image of Children as young as 8-years-old have been detonating bombs in schools and markets (Inquisitr).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Boko Haram has reportedly initiated a child training camp to prepare kids as young as eight-years-old to kill as many innocents as possible - including themselves. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Humanitarian group UNICEF recently reported an increase in children ... continue reading


WATCH NOW: Boko Haram releases heartbreaking 'Proof of life' video featuring kidnapped Chibok girls Watch

Image of One of the Chibok girls spoke to the camera. It is the first time her family has seen her in two years.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

When Boko Haram abducted over 200 school girls at gunpoint from a government school in Chibok, Nigeria, they made headlines across the globe. Since their abduction, there has been next to no word of their fate - until now. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Boko Haram ... continue reading


Young girls BEGGING to be suicide bombers to escape rape and starvation Watch

Image of Young girls are accepting suicide missions to escape sexual slavery and starvation (Irene Becker).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Women and girls are kidnapped by Boko Haram militants every day - then are forced to marry the terrorists. They are then raped by numerous men each day. After a time of slowly dying from starvation, the weary girls plead to be suicide bombers to escape the agonizingly ... continue reading


'We can't trust any of them': Surviving Boko Haram sex slaves tell their terrifying stories (WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT) Watch

Image of Surviving women who were forced to become Boko Haram

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two women, 15-year-old Halima and 25-year-old Hamsatu, speak of their captivity and forced marriages to Boko Haram men. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The women and girls used as sex slaves were as young as only 8-years-old and were forced to live in small ... continue reading


Biblical plague returns: Satellite images reveal blood-red Nile Watch

Image of Satellite images of the Nile bring to mind the Biblical plague (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new image from European Space Agency's (ESA) Sentinel-3A satellite reveals a blood-red River Nile, reminiscent of the Biblical plague of Moses' time. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Exodus 7:20, "Moses and Aaron did as the Lord ordered. He raised his ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • St. Maximinus of Trier: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:41-43
41 'Even the foreigner, not belonging to your people Israel but coming ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:1-10
1 When he had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he ... Read More

Reading 2, Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10
1 From Paul, an apostle appointed not by human beings nor through any ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2016 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle ... Read More