(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Michel Djotodia resigned as president in January.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

On January 28th, a pastor and his son were shot and killed within their church compound in the capital city of Bangui by members of a rebel group. The rebels, former members of the disbanded "Seleka" group, shouted "Allahu Akbar" before shooting Rev. Pierre-Severin Kongbo, 52, and his eldest son, Dieubeni. Two weeks before the men were killed, the rebels had come to their home, asking for the pastor. His wife informed them that he was not at home and then gave in to the rebels' demand for all the money in the house. Rev. Pierre-Severin is survived by his wife and their five other children.

This father and son are among the latest casualties in a country that has been beset by violence since December of 2012. The devastation began when a coalition of rebel groups, led by Michel Djotodia under the Seleka banner, moved through the country to eventually drive out the president in March of 2013. Djotodia took control of a transitional government, but resigned from his post last month. The National Assembly then elected Catherine Samba-Panza as president.

Since Djotodia's resignation and exile to Benin, hundreds of ex-Seleka members, many of whom are Muslim, have left the capital, leaving desolation in their wake. "People are fleeing," announced a source. "It appears that the Seleka, on their way back to Chad, are burning villages as they go. They have stolen vehicles belonging to local priests."

As the Seleka rebels retreat, local Muslims who are perceived to be accomplices of the group have faced attacks by Anti-Balaka ("Anti-Machete"), self-defense militias that are often comprised of Christians. However, while the Seleka have been largely termed a Muslim group, and the Anti-Balaka considered to be Christian, church leaders in the country have clarified that not all Anti-Balaka are Christians, and not all Christians are Anti-Balaka. The same principle applies to ex-Seleka members and Muslims. In all, over one million citizens have been displaced, and nearly two million require urgent humanitarian assistance.

As the family of these Christian men mourn their loss, pray that God will surround them with His peace and comfort. Ask Him to also meet their every material need at this time. Similarly, bring to the Lord the millions of people in this nation who are displaced or lacking basic essentials. May the 'Prince of Peace' reign in this country and in the hearts of all its citizens. In particular, pray that the church will be a beacon of hope and love to all, even to their persecutors. May Christians not resort to violence or seek revenge, but may the atrocities they have endured purify and refine their faith in our Living God. Let us also pray for wisdom for the country's new president and its other leaders and authorities. Also remember those who have perpetrated horrific crimes. May they repent, realizing that Christ's blood covers even the most grievous of sins.

Country Information

Central African RepublicPopulation
5,990,855 (July 2020 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Baya (28.8), Banda (22.9), Mandjia (9.9), Sara (7.9), M'Baka-Bantu (7.9), Arab-Fulani [Peul] (6), Mbum (6), Ngbanki (5.5), Zande-Nzakara (3), other Central African Republic ethnic groups (2), non-Central African Republic ethnic groups (.1)

Religion (%)
Christian (89.5), Muslim (8.5), folk (1), unaffiliated (1) (2010 est.)
Note: animistic beliefs and practices influence religious beliefs.

Leader
President Faustin-Archange Touadera (2016)

Government type
Presidential Republic

Legal system
Civil law system based on the French model

Sources: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Central African Republic

Pray that the church remains united despite national fragmentation due to ongoing conflict. Ask God to give displaced Christians the grace to forgive their persecutors. Uphold our brothers and sisters as they look to the Lord for clarity and truth in relation to scripture.

end

Select a Region

Central African Republic News