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Bangui, capital of the Central
African Republic, in 2012
Photo: Kalyan3 / Flickr

A three-month rebel uprising made its way to the capital city of the Central African Republic on March 24th, resulting in the exile of the country's president and the ransacking and destruction of numerous Christian homes and churches. The heavily armed rebels also attacked Bangui's main detention centre, causing its imprisoned criminals to escape and be on the loose. Adding to the horror of the situation, communication systems are down, and water and power supplies have been suspended...plunging the city into darkness. As fear continues to grip the capital, looting remains rampant.

The revolution began when several rebel groups, discontented with the government of President Francois Bozizé, joined forces in December under the banner of Séléka. Within weeks, the rebels had seized much of the north, northeast and central regions of this impoverished French-speaking African nation. Since the Séléka militants' destructive rampage across the country, it's become evident that they are aggressively targeting the Christian population.

According to Msgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, "They respected only mosques and Muslim traders, to whom they gave our goods to sell." Sources in Bambari added that the militants attacked a Baptist church, burning its benches as firewood. "Their presence is fuelling serious tension between local Christians and Muslims," states Father Leo Tibenda, a Catholic priest who has been called to missionary service in Africa.

May our Almighty God, during this difficult time of political/religious uprising, provide protection over the many innocent and vulnerable inhabitants of the Central African Republic. While petitioning in prayer that He would bring a swift end to the country's conflict, let us also ask for His strength to be granted to the persecuted, comfort to those living in fear, and peace to those being tormented.