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At least 24 people are feared killed and more than a hundred injured following a fresh outbreak of violence in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), on Tuesday, 1 May.
Until recent weeks, the capital had been considered a safe haven in the war-torn country – the only place the government is in control, with three-quarters of the country occupied by armed groups.
World Watch Monitor reported that the Tuesday attack, in which a Catholic priest was among 16 killed in one church, has shattered this sense of tranquillity. It brought back memories of the earliest days of the conflict, when Séléka rebels entered the capital in March 2013, and the failed attempt by self-defence militias (known as Anti-Balaka) to oust the rebels from the capital in December 2013.
Three weeks ago, 28 people, including a UN soldier, were killed in clashes between peacekeepers and militias in PK5, the capital’s predominantly Muslim area, which is also its commercial hub.
On Tuesday, as President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his government were attending the official 1 May ceremony marking International Workers’ Day, on the capital’s Avenue of Martyrs, thousands of people from the Diocese of Bangui gathered for a Mass at Notre Dame de Fatima (Our Lady of Fatima) Church, for “oath-taking” on the occasion of the anniversary of St. Joseph.
Some officials, including Tina Touadéra, the First Lady, and Francis Bozizé, the son of ex-president Francois Bozizé (ousted by Séléka in March 2013), were among the attendees.
A number of priests from other parishes also attended, including Fr. Albert Toungoumalé-Baba, vicar of St. Mathias (2km away) and chaplain of the Fraternité Saint Joseph movement. He was the leading priest of the celebration.
It was about 10am, just after the homily, when the first gunshots and grenades erupted in the compound of the parish, creating panic among the worshippers. Some of them managed to flee, but others were hit by bullets and grenades.
Priest among the dead
Fr. Albert Toungoumalé-Baba was fatally wounded. Dozens of others were left on the ground, 16 declared dead including the priest, while a hundred more sustained various levels of injuries and were later admitted into hospitals across the capital.
Father Baba, 71, was known for his commitment to peace in the Central African Republic. He had been deeply involved in resolving past crises, including the mutinies of 1995 and 1996. At that time he was secretary of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Bangui.
He was later appointed vicar of St. Mathias parish, in the heart of the PK5 district. He was officiating the service on Tuesday, as a guest priest, when he was killed.
Fr. Padre Moses, a parish priest at Notre Dame de Fatima, told World Watch Monitor that he is grateful to God that he survived the shooting.
He recalled the dramatic moment which turned the Tuesday Mass into the scene of a massacre.
He said the Mass had started at about 9am and that, an hour later, the first gunshots could be heard in the distance. As the assailants moved closer, security agents around the compound tried to repel them but they were outnumbered.
The assailants started shooting at people who were outside the church because the church was too small and could not contain all the attendees. They also threw hand grenades.
“We are all shocked, everybody is shocked,” said Fr. Moses. “We don’t understand why. Why to kill people who are praying, just innocent people who are praying?”
The assailants are said to be members of a militia group, which has been sowing fear and sorrow in the PK5 neighbourhood.
‘What have we done with this country?’
Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, condemned “energetically” and “bluntly” the attack on the Fatima church, as he returning from a trip abroad yesterday (2 May).
“I appeal to everyone so that we can have restraint, so that we can also have the self-control, to avoid anger, to avoid hatred, revenge, reprisals,” said Nzapalainga in a statement.
“We have counted our dead, and we continue to count them. We have our injured, our disabled and we continue to count them. Let’s stand up and block the road to the will of self-destruction.”
The cardinal also denounced the spate of violence in Bangui: “Behind these events, I ask myself questions: what is happening? Have there been manipulations, exploitation? Is there a willingness to divide the country? Is there a hidden agenda? Let us look for answers to these questions together.”
He recalled the legacy of Barthelemy Boganda, a Catholic priest and leading politician of the country.
He said Central African Republic is the country of Boganda, the man who gathered all the peoples, all the tributes, all the regions and who wanted the Central African Republic to be a model country.
“For decades, what have we done with this country? Coups, mutinies, repeated rebellions. The result is before us: we have deaths, looting and destruction and the latest dramatic events remind us that violence does not solve our problems,” he said.
Cardinal Nzapalainga also called on the government and the MINUSCA (the UN Mission in CAR) to shed light on the attack, so “that we can know the truth and that justice is also done to the Central African population”.
The Tuesday attack was said to be triggered by an incident involving security forces and a militia leader known as Moussa Empereur, who was injured when security forces tried to stop his vehicle. In a reprisal, his men attacked the security forces and went on the rampage.
An angry mob tried to transport the body of the killed priest to the Presidency, but were dispersed by police. The procession passed through the Lakouanga neighbourhood, where a mosque was destroyed and two men were burned alive.
A local church leader told World Watch Monitor that one of his church members was shot dead in front of his house yesterday (2 May). Earlier in the morning, another dead body was found around Notre Dame de Fatima Parish.
The death toll has continued to rise as more deaths have been reported across the capital. According to the latest figures, 24 people have been killed and 170 injured.
Condemnation and calls for restraint
In the wake of the massacre, other religious and political leaders have called for calm and condemned the killings.
Yesterday, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra paid a visit to Cardinal Nzapalainga at the Archdiocese of Bangui to offer his condolences.
He condemned the violence and warned against attempts to portray it as an inter-religious clash.
“The people must not be manipulated. There are people against peace. They will not pass,” he said. “We will hunt down the perpetrators of this act.”
A nationwide mourning of three days, beginning today – Thursday, 3 May – was decreed.
Imam Omar Kobine Layama, president of the Central African Islamic Council and member of the interfaith platform, condemned the act as one committed by “men without faith” and urged the authorities to stop “those criminals” who think they are above the law.
Almost exactly four years ago (28 May 2014), the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima suffered a bloody assault as Séléka rebel fighters assaulted the parish with grenades and gunfire, killing at least 18 people, including a priest, Fr. Paul-Emile Nzalé, 76, as World Watch Monitor reported.
Many others were wounded or kidnapped – over 30 of them were later found dead.
At the time of the attack, Notre Dame de Fatima was hosting 9,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), including over 2,000 who had moved there only a week earlier to escape from a recent rise in insecurity in nearby neighbourhoods. Others had been staying there since December 2013.
World Watch Monitor learned that the latest Tuesday attack could have been prevented. A day before, there were rumours of an impending attack, to the point where some organisers suggested the ceremony should be relocated elsewhere. But it was decided to keep the celebration at Notre Dame de Fatima, arguing that nothing would happen because it was just a religious ceremony and that security would be assured because several important figures were expected.
Jean, 20, was shot in the stomach. “It was around 10am, just after the homily, when the faithful began running all around, shouting: ‘The Séléka are here to kill us,’” he said.
“In the panic, I was hit by a bullet, and I collapsed. I do not remember what happened next; I later found myself here in the hospital.”
Joseph, 28, was shot in the left arm. “After the homily, we heard a young man who was selling water shouting: ‘The Séléka are there; they have weapons,’” he said. Security forces who were on the scene also warned us to take cover.
“Some of the Séléka climbed into the trees and started shooting. They said: ‘We are going to kill you all.’ I was trying to escape when I was hit by a bullet. I fell down, and I played dead while the shooting continued, in all directions. It was the MINUSCA who drove me here to the hospital. I thank God for keeping my life safe.”
Bienvenue, 40, was in charge of a group 50 young men from his parish of St. Antoine de Padoue. He said that when the police gave the alert, they could not go out through the main entrance, which was already occupied by Séléka and that some of them were shooting from the trees.
“We had to break the wall on the south side of the compound to escape,” he said. “That’s how I was hurt by the wire. There were many deaths and injured. I do not know what happened to the young men I took there.”
Here is what we reported in January of this year:
The Seleka have been compared to the ‘Janjaweed’ a ruthless, souless group of rebel murderers. The Lord’s Resistance Army who also claims Christian roots, and is hunted internationally for horrendous crimes rivaling none. Rape, murder, among countless other atrocities, this terror group is guilty on all counts. They even kidnap and force children to participate as soliders in their wars. So why isn’t the media reporting on this? Why are they not telling us of the true evil established in the CAR?
Lots of unanswered questions, no one seems to be asking. Mainly, they are only reporting on the violence between Christians and Muslims, a religious conflict. These type of headlines seem to draw the most readers. In the meantime, innocent people are being tortured, burned, raped, hacked to death, and beheaded. But the world has no solutions, only sanctions or sanctions that stay on the debate table.
As we have prayed for answers and asked not only questions from the world, but from God. Early on, we were shown the wickedness that lies behind these attacks.
This blackness spreads as death and destruction in Africa grows to genocidal proportions. More and more we see the media starting to take notice, something is not right. Because their readers are demanding to know the truth and calling them out, for further investigation. They are now beginning to scratch the surface to uncover facts.
A few of media outlets are reporting on recent clashes between rebels and the Ugandan Army. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Seleka rebels have been supplying the Lord’s Resistance Army in exchange for precious metals and ivory. This is no secret, we have reported on the vast superhighway of terror in this region before.
We have inquired as to why media outlets continually report about conflicts and slaughter in the CAR as Christian verses Muslim, when the Lord’s Resistance Army has been very active in the region. Their reign of terror has never ended, it simply puts on a new face and goes underground. In fact the US continues to search for the leader Joseph Kony. Seleka and even Anti-Balaka, the latter being touted as Christian militia are now surfacing as supporters of the LRA.
We have asked why the media reports that the Anti-Balaka are Christian without even so much as a question. The gallery below will show the pagan rituals applied by this group. It’s easy to see this is not Christianity. They use it as a cover—drawing in youth and weak Christians who have witnessed great persecution and the losses of property or family members in the conflicts. Revenge encouraged by these militants…in the end a bitter pill to shallow. And the world blames religion for the conflict. Satan working overtime on a blinded world to get the results he wants.
The Anti-Balaka are far from Christian, when in fact they have many of the same rituals and beliefs as the LRA. Since these stories have surfaced, many are speaking out and wanting answers and the real truth.
Remember how the media portrayed the clashes as over and the rebel groups were disbanded. Why does the terror continue against citizens of the CAR? Why is this still happening?
CAR: Report claims attack on Our Lady of Fatima parish and killing of priest was carried out by foreigners
(Voice of the Persecuted) We have continually reported on the network of terror that is growing in the CAR and spreading to other regions of Africa. We repeatedly ask why the main stream media keeps portraying the Anti-Balaka as a Christian vigilante group? With a little research it is easy to find this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have shown the resemblance of their actions to the Lord’s Resistance Army and their strange pagan-like rituals that go completely against Christianity. Others are beginning to see how the MSM has only fueled and provided propaganda tools to the rebels. Here is a significant report from the Fides agency. The route from Sudan to Libya has become a dark pathway for evil. Our hearts and prayers go out to the innocent people of Africa.
Bangui (Agenzia Fides) – The perpetrators of the attack on Our Lady of Fatima parish church in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, spoke neither French nor the locale Sango, Fides was told by Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, archbishop of Bangui, who added: “The attackers shouted in English, ‘open the door’”.
On 28 May, men armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades attacked the parish where a number of persons had sought shelter from violence. The attack left 18 people dead including a Catholic priest, Rev. Paul-Emile Nzale aged 76. According to Fides sources at least 42 people were taken hostage and the bodies were later found. However Archbishop Nzapalainga cannot confirm the news. “Some survivors whom I met told me people were taken away, but on their whereabouts voices are contradictory: some say they were killed others affirm they are still alive” the Archbishop said.
The attack has increased tension in the capital. “The city is totally paralyzed. Demonstrators calling for the temporary government to resign were dispersed by the army. Tension is high and no one knows what is going to happen” concludes Mons. Nzapalainga.
According to Fides sources, the attack on Our Lady of Fatima parish was carried out by foreign jihadists who now have complete control of Muslims living in the Km 5 district of Bangui.
“Although the authorities pretend not to notice, many Central Africans know that jihadists terrorists from Sudan and Nigeria have infiltrated into the Seleka and are now in the Km 5 district. Likening the anti balaka to Christians, the western media offered these criminals a perfect means of propaganda”, our sources conclude.
Bishop Nestor Desire Nongo-Aziagbia, Bishop of Bossangoa,had earlier told Fides Agency about the presence of foreign jihadists at km 5 (see Fides 28/4/2014).
Seleka is the rebel coalition which took power in Bangui in March 2013, throwing the country into chaos. The anti balaka militiamen who chased the Seleka from the capital turned into criminal gangs now rampant in various parts of Central Africa. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/5/2014)
CNN is covering the kidnapping of 234 school girls. (Here) But for the most part the Mainstream Media refuses to show the wrathful, atrocious, malicious, reprobate acts carried out against innocent people in Nigeria. The daily lives of Christians and other religious minorities have been decimated and reduced to chaos, and uncertainty. Uncertain whether the sun will set or rise without the heinous shedding of innocent blood. These conflicts in Africa are spreading their darkness, the blackness grows, and with it comes the demons called Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Al-Queda, Seleka, ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’, Anti-Balaka, and all other rebel groups that share the same evil codes.
The media refuses to investigate the corruption of the governments in these places, the blatant ignoring of the slaughter and kidnappings by the government there and here in the west, goes largely silent. (More) They should be raising alarms and red flags and asking tough questions. Questions & concerns that are valid and need addressing in order to uncover the darkness that lives here.
The toll this is taking on not only the innocent, population, but on those attempting to aid the victims, is reaching proportions not seen since WW2. The beheadings, and executions, alone are enough to cause even the seasoned war veterans to go mad. And yet these people witness this every day.
We have talked with people on the ground and it’s unimaginable what they have to endure. These images will mark them and walk with them the rest of their lives. They say that their faith in God is the only thing that sustains them. Recently an aid worker delivering clothes and other aid to victims was gunned down. His crime? Attempting to provide relief, a little comfort in a ravaged region, some clothing. Imagine that. Those who are brave enough to go into the middle of slaughter are gunned down. They put their lives at risk daily just to provide comfort, and these malicious demons slaughter them.
Then there is the hundreds of school girls that were kidnapped. The unspeakable terror that they are facing is heartwrenching. The parents of the girls say that the number is 234. Yet where are the armies looking for them? Where is the outcry from the UN? Where is the outcry from the West? We know the history of these evil groups and why they kidnap young girls and children. The girls are raped and forced into slavery among the rebels, and they are the fortunate ones. The boys are forced into serving as militant soldiers in what can only be described as the devils army. And they too are used as sex slaves and in prostitution. Pedophilia runs rampant. They are psychologically tortured, and forced into martyrdom. Innocent children, that should be worried about what they will wear to school, or what their grades will be this semester. Instead they are forced to endure torture beyond human capabilities.
The international community needs to highlight and draw this to the attention of their governments, instead of covering it up or ignoring it. Something must to be done. As we saw in Rwanda and also what we are seeing in the CAR, a genocide has already begun— as we sit comfortably here in the West feeling as though nothing ever touches us. Atrocities are taking place on a catastrophic level. While the West worries about prom dresses, dance recitals and ball games. Minute by minute, the children in these countries are facing rape, torture and death. How much longer will you remain silent?
BE THEIR VOICE!
By C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
There is so much violence in the CAR, Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia. Staggering chaos and many, many unanswered questions. The MSM reports that Chadian Troops have killed 24 people, mainly Christians when they attacked neighborhoods in Bangui 2 days ago. Reports from BBC indicate that the Chadian troops were attacked by the ‘Christian Militia.’ BBC also say’s that Chadian forces have been accused of supporting muslim rebels. (more) What is puzzling is that the Chadian troops are not part of the African Union Peacekeeping force. So why are militaries, and militia’s allowed to wreak havoc here? Why has the government, strengthened by the French army, the UN and African Peace keeping forces not been able to bring about calm?
The African Peace keepers are defending the Chadian Troops, stating that they came under attack from ‘Christian Militias’. There are very deep feelings from the area about the Chadian troops. (More) Chad has been accused of meddling in the conflict, helping to overthrow the government last year. The new government lead by the Central African Republic’s first female president Catherine Samba-Panza, has been embroiled in it’s own controversy. At her first speech to the nation, she re-introduced the military, and minutes after she left, the new Army beat a man to death and drug him through the streets. (Read here)
Chad and Libya has had their share of back and forth, but remember Chad in the beginning was backing Gadaffi. And he even had Chadian forces defending him. We all know about the French, Nato, and Gadaffi, with reported hints of arms trafficking into Libya and the Benghazi incident, where Ambassador Stevens and others were killed. Here is a quote from International Crises Group from 2011 titled ‘Africa without Qaddafi: The Case of Chad:
“When the crisis began, Déby tried to defend Qaddafi’s legitimacy by accusing the rebels of colluding with Islamists. Though his government denied it was providing any military support, the presence of Chadian fighters in Libya among Qaddafi’s troops stripped his statements of weight.” (More)
Despite sincere efforts of the media portraying this as a religious war, this is most likely not the case. Religious leaders have been speaking out regularly stating it’s a political conflict not religious. And it’s Christian and Muslim leaders. This map may show why this conflict continues to rage. Take note of the oil pipelines.
The Christians and the Muslims have lived side by side here for years without incident. We have just reported recently that it’s been found that so-called Christians are fighting with the Seleka (muslim rebels) and the Muslim rebels are fighting with these so-called Christians. The Anti-balaka raise many red flags, such as who is training them? And the big question—where is the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’? We know they are in the area. And not much has been said about them lately. We also found that the practices of the Anti-balaka closely resemble the practices of the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army.’ They wrongfully call themselves, Christian Militia. Their actions and rituals are far from Christianity.
Religious leaders from both sides recently met in the West begging us not to forget them. But it appears we have done just that.
The refugee camps which many are fleeing to, are rife with rebels hiding as refugees. These camps are hot beds for kidnapping, rape, torture and arms trafficking. So why can’t the government gain control? Not surprising, these arms shipments are making their way north to the Boko Haram in Nigeria. With some caches recently found and seized by the Cameroon military near the Nigerian border.
The Boko Haram are a vicious, radical Islamist sect who kill anything that move in their attacks. And they have become more embolden in recent months. Is there a connection?
According to the UNHCR: Over 400,000 people are estimated to be internally displaced, compared to some 94,000 in early 2012. Some 65,000 individuals have fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of the Congo, Chad and Cameroon, bringing the global number of Central African refugees close to 220,000.
Euro news: Thousands have died since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago and launched a campaign of terror.
Nigeria, Boko Haram: The group is known for attacking Christians and government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, kidnapping western tourists, but has also assassinated members of the Islamic establishment. Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2002 and 2013. The conflicts have left around 90,000 people displaced. Human Rights Watch claims that Boko Haram uses child soldiers, including 12 year olds.
The statistics are very hard to obtain for these areas, I can tell you in 2014 the violence and death’s have increased to the point of Genocide. The amount of people displaced has exponentially increased. Please don’t let the horrors these people face go unnoticed or forgotten. Speak out, and pray. Pray for calm, pray for peace, pray for comfort, strength, and protection. So many innocent people and children are suffering beyond imagination.
This is an ongoing conflict, and we will update as we get new information.
By C.Refsland & L.Kanalos VOP Advocates
This video is one of the most detailed we’ve seen lately coming out of the CAR. It visits the Seleka camps and the Anti-Balaka camp. I sat in simple confusion many questions. Every answer they give raises new questions, and show’s just how volatile and chaotic this region is. At the beginning we found that the Seleka were Muslim, that they overthrew the government in 2013 and Michael Djotida claimed himself to be president. The Seleka went unchecked, I would have to say due to the instability of the military. Another rebel group formed called the Anti-balaka. They were quickly labeled as a Christian group, seeking revenge. Even though the Muslims and Christians lived side by side for years without conflict and grew friendships. Until recently that is, at least according to media reports. Religious leaders and others have repeatedly said this is not a religious war, but a political one. However it certainly looks at times like just that. This video points out the commander of the Anti-Balaka is friends with a Seleka rebel, and it clearly show’s Christians involved in the Seleka. It also points out clearly that many of the Anti-Balaka are ex-military commanders. Remember when the Anti-Balaka first came into light, they said they were a Christian group seeking revenge. Now we find out many of them are ex-Military. They are now in Jail and are guarded by the very men they used to command in the military. The Government has labeled them terrorists. But are working them in other regions. When the Military fails and the government lets chaos ensue, this is what you get. And people are suffering. People are fleeing, people are forced into camps where the rebels hide as refugees. It appears that the government is trying to pull the 2 sides together to form a legitimate military. Or are they still pitting neighbor against neighbor? Pray for the people of this region. Pray for clarity for the leaders as well as the religious leaders. Pray for caring hands.
From France 24 posted today:
Religious Leaders In CAR Calling For Calm : “Churches and mosques must be rid of armed infiltrators”
Bangui (Agenzia Fides) – It is necessary to disarm “infiltrators” in churches and mosques in order to counteract gangs of militia and looters presently terrorising the country. This appeal has been launched by Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Oumar Kobine Layama, respectively Catholic Archbishop and Imam of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, according to information given to Fides News Agency. “May all the brothers carrying weapons hand over their arms. The military must disarm everyone, in churches and in mosques. Too many Central Africans carry weapons, Muslims and Christians. Arms take no sides” said Archbishop Nzapalainga.
“Armed men have moved into places of worship, even into mosques” the Imam agreed, calling for support for disarmament operations on the part of international forces sent to the Central African Republic to help local authorities stem the violence.
After the toppling from power of the Seleka Rebel group, the so-called Anti Balaka militia (composed of various groups, including bandits and criminals) has unleashed a man-hunt for Muslims, accused of being accomplices of the Seleka.
Looting has reduced the country to the limit . During a meeting with a councillor at the Embassy to the Order of Malta, Fr. Elkana Ndawatchi, representative of the archdiocese of Bangui, cited a report issued last May 2013 by the World Health Organization, which found that out of 117 health centres visited in the areas most affected by armed conflict, 49 hospitals and health centres had been destroyed and 80% of the medical staff had been forced to evacuate the central areas of country.
“In Bangui – the priest added – of 24 healthcare existing centres only 17 are able to function and 9 of these are Catholic medical centres. While out of 4 hospitals at the secondary an tertiary levels only 3 still offer some assistance.” The representative of the Order of Malta gave the local Church 5 million CFA Francs to support affected Catholic health centres and said that more aid in the form of medical drugs is presently held at up at the port of Douala (Cameroon) because roads between the two countries are insecure. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/2/2014)
What we know about recent events in Africa:
- We know from recent reports that the borders in and around the Central African Republic are very porous allowing refugees to flee, but with those refugees are also rebels in hiding, posing security threats in the far north, from those fleeing CAR, chad, Nigeria and Sudan.
- We know these threats include kidnapping and concealed militants.
- We also have reports of arms smuggling and shipments traveling the region, in fact a recent shipment was intercepted from a man attempting to smuggle 655 guns into Nigeria.
- We also know that the Boko Haram are operating and causing destruction, murder and chaos in Nigeria. So are the arms from the rebel factions in CAR like the Seleka, and the Anti-Balaka being transported to Boko Haram and vice versa? It’s almost impossible to tell.
- It’s being reported that observers are quick to point out that the Boko Haram in Nigeria is a major force driving the weapons trade.
- And, it’s also reported that the government in CAR has not evaluated or determined where millions of arms that were reported looted from their armories have gone.
- According to several reports , David Mekong (Political Analyst) is quoted as saying that the Boko Haram in Nigeria have escalated their war, and this does seem to offer explanations as the reports of arms smuggling and trafficking through other war zones, such as Sudan, CAR, Liby and DRC. He is also credited with this quote: “After wars, firearms are sold at relatively low prices, a real business opportunity for traffickers. As disarmament and demobilization is taking place in CAR, arms from the conflict can easily reach Boko Haram and others crisis zones.”
This entire area is becoming a hot bed of illegal arms trading, human trafficking, smuggling, and kidnapping. Children are most vulnerable. While they concentrate on who is doing what and who is who in CAR, rebels and weapons are making their way into other volatile regions. And still the question of who is training and organizing the militant group known as ‘Anti-balaka’ goes unanswered. I heard a interview on Al-Jazeera, a biased but growing media outlet. The announcer asked this question, of who was training and arming the Anti-balaka, and the expert avoided it all together. No answer except they are a Christian Militia. Here is a screen shot from that video:
Still unanswered questions, that lead to still more questions. While the violence escalates, pray for the people in these regions. Pray for peace, pray for protection, and comfort. Pray for swift travel for those providing aid.
Sources: The Nigerian Tribune, The Fides Agency, The IRIN
It is no secret that there is much corruption in the governments of the sovereign states (countries) throughout the continent of Africa. And as the crises in CAR unfolds, headlines abound of the ethnic/religious cleansing taking place under the cover of political crises. A group surfacing in reports is the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA has been hunted for several years. A senior leader and Deputy Army Commander of the group, Okot Ohdiombo has been on the ICC’s radar and wanted list since 2005. According to the Ugandan Defense Minister, Ohdiombo may have been killed in recent fighting. The ‘butchering’ of innocent civilians and kidnapping children to serve in this savage, cutthroat army of fierce, merciless individuals is a signature of the LRA.
A mass grave was uncovered in Bangui, a Seleka rebel held city. Pastor Boga, head of the Red Cross confirmed the grave, but has not released the number dead or who committed the murders. In researching the information coming out of this region, reports of the brutal slaughter of innocent civilians that is nondiscriminatory to race or religion. Christian, Muslim, men, women or children, they have all been attacked. And the word ‘butchered’ doesn’t even begin to describe what has taken place. The religious leaders are calling for calm, but calm is not forthcoming.
France has16,000 troops and the African Union has another 6,000 on the ground, but still the violence increases. They have been virtually powerless to control it. “There is an ethno-religious cleansing that is taking place that we must stop at all costs,” said António Guterres with the UNHCR. The United Nations is warning of a Humanitarian Disaster of unspeakable proportions. The World Food Program is delivering much needed supplies, but is it enough?
Muslims have been taking refuge in churches, while muslim rebels are regrouping in neighboring countries to take revenge on the Christians. As recent reports have stated, Christians are wanting revenge for the murders of their family members by Muslim extremists. And the vicious cycle goes on. Based on the headlines, one would assume religion is the cause of this war.
Understanding the truth behind the violence may hold the key to what is really happening and the cause behind the violence.
The Anti-Balaka, is a militant group and so-called Christian militia. These militants carry charms and amulets with their victims blood around their neck to bring them luck. This is not a practice of true Christianity. In the media, it has been described as African mysticism. But we can discern from the actions of this group, that evil is being forced upon innocent people. The leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army Joseph Kony proclaims himself to be God’s spokesman, and teaches child soldiers that a cross made with oil on their chest will protect them from bullets.
As earlier mentioned, the LRA has resurfaced alongside the news of increased violence.
The government has not released much information on this group, other than they are still pursuing them. The violence now happening in CAR closely resembles actions of the LRA.
In January, a congressional Research Report was issued about the crises in CAR. It also touched on the LRA. They say that this crises has implications of broader issues that Congress has been interested in. And that the LRA still has a presence and is operating in the region.
Have they splintered into new groups? Are they taking up arms and carrying out these brutal attacks? Here is a short history of what the US has documented about the LRA.
Sept. 11, 2001- The US declared the LRA a terrorist group.
Aug. 28,2008 the United States Treasury Department placed Kony on it’s list of specially designated world terrorists. This carries financial and other penalties.
Nov. 2008 President George W. Bush signed a directive to the United States Africa Command to provide financial and logistical support to the Ugandan Government
May 2010 President Obama signed into law the Lords Resistance Disarmament And Northern Uganda Recovery Act to try and stop Kony and the LRA
Oct. 2011 Obama authorized deployment of 100 combat troops to Central Africa again, to only provide support
April 2013 Obama offered a 5 million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest or transfer of Kony, Ongwin, & Ohdiambo.
The LRA is known to be hiding and operating in the CAR. A good question would be why media hasn’t done much coverage on this?
As the people seek peace, all indications point to continued violence. The new President of CAR has not brought calm either. The army beat a man to death minutes after her first speech to the nation. As more and more comes to light we will be watching and engaging in prayer. Prayer for calm and caring hands. Prayer for comfort and peace. Prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit. And that this darkness to be brought into the light.