Church In Central African Republic ‘Destroyed’ By Violence

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The CAR has been riven by a civil war that erupted in 2012, characterized by conflict between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian ‘anti-balaka’ forces

A Catholic cardinal in the Central African Republic has lamented the devastation caused to the Church by the violence and instability of the country.

Addressing a meeting of the country’s bishops, Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, said 2017 ‘saw the murder and aggression of many servants of God in Bangui, but especially in our provinces: Banguassou, Alindao, Mokoyo…Churches devastated, looted or burned; faithful martyred. Last year’s toll is alarming.’

The CAR has been riven by a civil war that erupted in 2012, characterized by conflict between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian ‘anti-balaka’ forces. Atrocities have been committed by both groups, with the International Criminal Court concluding there is ‘a reasonable basis to believe that both the Séléka and the anti-balaka groups have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, rape, forced displacement, persecution, pillaging, attacks against humanitarian missions and the use of children under fifteen in combat’.

However, Nzapalainga told Crux the conflict was not based on religion. ‘Were that to be the case, then you wouldn’t see Muslim and Catholic leaders working together to initiate dialogue,’ he said.

He blamed it on the search for minerals, saying: ‘Many people are growing richer from this war.’

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