Sectarian violence continues in CAR

Monday, April 14, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (Worthy News)-- As sectarian killings continue in the Central African Republic, the country's churches held a month of prayer, according to Barnabas Aid.

On March 30, members of CAR's two opposing factions -- the Seleka and anti-balaka militias -- gathered together in a sports stadium to demonstrate their reconciliation through a symbolic act of "burying the hatchet".

The conflict in CAR began in November 2012 when the militant Islamists of Seleka launched an uprising against the country's Christian majority. Within months, anti-balaka militias were formed in response to the looting, raping and murders by Seleka Islamists after they seized control of the country in March 2013. Since then, anti-balaka militias have launched retaliatory attacks and massacres that mostly targeted Muslims.

While many of the anti-balaka claim to be Christian, they are so only in a nominal sense: many are ethnic Christians who, although they attend church, practice traditional African animism. But that didn't stop the media from reporting the conflict in CAR as a Christian versus Muslim sectarian war.

Churches in CAR have repeatedly distanced themselves from the anti-balaka by calling on true Christians to pursue peace, reconciliation and healing.

Currently in CAR, 6,000 African Union and 2,000 French peacekeeping troops struggle to contain a conflict that has has left thousands dead and displaced nearly a million more.