Rebels and Militias Are Openly Killing Women and Children In the Central African Republic

CAR violence

While world attention focuses on Ukraine and the missing Malaysian airliner, some African religious leaders say their country is facing a worse crisis, one that is claiming scores of lives each day.

Violence in the Central African Republic has left thousands of people dead and more than a million people homeless.

In Washington this week, a multi-faith delegation said their country urgently needs help to end the suffering.

The three-man delegation, Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyame-Gbangou, Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, came to America seeking help from members of Congress and others who would listen.

“We came here in Washington as Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims because our country is experiencing a crisis,” Nzapalainga said.

They want Americans to know the Central African Republic is in the midst of a violent political upheaveal, one that is still claiming innocent lives.

“The situation now is critical and we have to act immediately and quickly. You have men, women, and children who are just killed openly,” Nzapalainga explained.

The recent violence began when rebels, known as the Selekas, overthrew the government in March 2013.

“Many Christians here in this country, and I guess in the Central African Republic, believe all of this violence started about a year ago when Muslim militias started attacking churches, Christian homes and businesses,” Imam Layama said.

Layama also told CBN News that the Seleka rebellion is comprised of 80 or 90 percent Muslim, adding that they have pillaged, burned, killed, and stolen many vehicles and places that belong to the church.

“But at the same time they have also done the same to the Islamic people as they have come,” he argued. “When I saw how they were behaving I began to denounce them, to talk to them to explain that what they are doing had nothing to do with Islam…a good Muslim is someone who doesn’t kill.”

But the killing continued. Non-Muslim militias known as the anti-Balakas retaliated.

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Gary Lane

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