Central African Republic: Church at Risk from Fulani, Seleka & LRA

Source:  http://rlprayerbulletin.blogspot.com

Date:  June 22, 2016

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: CHURCH AT RISK FROM FULANI, SELEKA & LRA 

by Elizabeth Kendal 

CONTEXT: In March 2013 France and the West stood back and watched as Central 
African Republic (CAR) - which is French-speaking and 76 percent Christian 
(mostly Protestant) - fell to Seleka, an exceedingly well armed and funded 
alliance of mostly Arabic-speaking local and international Islamic jihadists. 
The conquest of the capital, Bangui, was but the climax of Seleka's jihadist 
advance southward that involved massive looting, destruction, killing and 
sexual violence against the mostly Christian population. Thousands were 
killed and around one million displaced. Many Muslims sided with the rebels 
against their Christian neighbours, shattering decades of peaceful 
co-existence. Local village defence militias (the 'anti-balaka') - originally 
designed to protect villages from 'balaka' (machete) wielding criminals - 
went on the defensive. Though identifying as 'Christian', the anti-balaka are 
in no way connected to the Church, which denounces their retaliatory 
violence. Only when anti-balaka militias started driving Seleka jihadists 
(and many other mostly immigrant Muslims) out of Bangui, did French and UN 
peacekeepers intervene. The peace-deal signed in July 2014 was totally 
meaningless and unenforceable, leaving the Islamic rebels free to re-organise 
in the north. Many suspect they plan to partition the country. Consequently, 
recent eruptions of violence in north-west CAR and in Bangui are cause for 
concern.   

NORTH-WEST CAR: In Ngaoundaye, about 500 km  north-west of Bangui, clashes 
between local anti-balaka militias and Fulani cattle herders, backed by 
former Seleka rebels, have claimed at least eleven lives. According to 
reports, well-armed former-Seleka and Fulani fighters recently attacked the 
north-western town of Ngaoundaye, killing six, after the local inhabitants 
refused to let the Fulani lead their cattle through the town. Peacekeepers 
have been deployed to the region. According to Fides newsagency, the Islamic 
rebels who attacked Ngaoundaye did not return to their base near Paoua, but 
withdrew to Kollo on the border with Chad, from where they issued an 
ultimatum - pay protection money or expect another attack. Much of the 
population of Ngaoundaye is now hiding in the bush. According to a priest in 
the area, tensions are soaring and armed gangs are re-forming. The Church is 
appealing for more peacekeepers.     

BANGUI: Tit-for-tat sectarian violence erupted in Bangui on Sunday 12 June 
and has escalated to claim several lives. On Sunday 19 June heavily armed 
Seleka rebels abducted six police officers as gunfire rang out around the 
capital. The Catholic archbishop of Bangui, Bishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, has 
appealed for calm and for help.  

SOUTH-EAST CAR - THE LRA RISES: Founded in Uganda in the 1980s, the Lord's 
Resistance Army (LRA) is an occultic militia aided and protected by Sudan's 
Islamist regime, which has long used it as a proxy against its Christian 
neighbours. Thriving on insecurity, the LRA will soon also benefit from the 
withdrawal of Ugandan forces from CAR. The withdrawal of Ugandan forces, 
announced on 10 June, will give the LRA virtual free reign in predominantly 
Christian CAR. Buoyed with renewed confidence, the LRA has dramatically 
escalated its attacks in recent months. This has  specifically included 
kidnappings, with 252 abductions in the first three months of 2016, compared 
with 113 during all of 2015. It seems the LRA is replenishing its ranks. Last 
week the LRA kidnapped 29 people from two villages in south-east CAR.   


PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT 

* our sovereign God, the King of kings, will intervene to ensure that Central 
African Republic receives all the diplomatic, military and humanitarian 
assistance it needs to resist Islamic jihad, eradicate foreign militants and 
defeat the LRA, while liberating its captives.  

'May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of 
Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you 
support from Zion!' (Psalm 20:1,2 ESV)  

* God our merciful and compassionate Father will hear and answer the prayers 
of his traumatised and fearful children; may he protect and deliver them from 
all the evil plots of men and the devil.  

* the Spirit of God will work powerfully and effectively through all CAR's 
Christian leaders - political, civic and religious - giving them great 
spiritual wisdom and insight to know how to respond to their country's 
crisis; may all CAR's Christians, especially Christian leaders, commit 
themselves to prayer.  

'Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of 
the Lord our God.' (Psalm 20:7 ESV)  

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