Avoid Muslim Central African Republic

Central African Republic: Dozens feared dead after massacre in Bria

September 17, 2018

By World Watch Monitor

In Central African Republic, dozens of people are feared killed after suspected Islamist rebels attacked a group of civilians in the central town of Bria earlier this month.

Early reports suggested that between 12 to 14 people were killed during the attack on 4-5 September, but local sources contacted by World Watch Monitor said as many as 42 were killed, as details about the attacks are now emerging.

The massacre took place over two days, and it was a further two days until some youths were able to access the area to recover a dozen bodies.

“We received information that they had been killed, but no-one had the courage to immediately go and look for their bodies. It was only two days later [on 7 September] that some youths went and retrieved the corpses,” the source explained. “They brought them here and laid them in front of the MINUSCA (UN peacekeepers) office in the camp. They have since been buried.”

Other sources told World Watch Monitor that the victims were mainly women who were hacked to death while returning from farms to PK3, the predominantly Christian quarter of the town, to sell their farm products. Some of the victims also lived there, in PK3, the largest internally displaced persons (IDP) site in the Central African Republic, with an estimated 100,000 people, 80,000 of whom are IDPs, according to the UN.

Some of the victims had gunshot wounds, while others died of machete wounds. At least one of the women was pregnant. “All those women slaughtered! It is terrible,” lamented Gedeon, who lives in the IDP camp. “The situation is very tense here. Although it is relatively calm right now, there no movement, nothing.”

The massacre was attributed to members of the Popular Front for the Central African Renaissance (FPRC), one of the four factions of the now-disbanded Séléka rebel group active in Bria.

A week earlier (29 August) three ex-Seleka groups, including the FPRC and one Anti-balaka (vigilante) group led by Maxime Mokom, committed themselves to work for peace and political stability in CAR.

The agreement, known as ‘The Khartoum Declaration of Understanding of the Central African Armed Groups’, followed a two-day meeting for peace, brokered by Russia.

The meeting in the Sudanese capital took place at the same time as an official mediation effort led by the African Union (AU), with representatives of 14 armed groups, to finalise joint demands.

Despite the presence of UN peacekeepers, the town of Bria witnessed a wave of violence at the end of August following violent clashes between members of the FPRC and Anti-balaka vigilantes.

Since then, a relative clam has returned, but the movement of people, including humanitarian workers, is very limited.

One resident, speaking to a local radio under anonymity, said that between 29 to 31 August, ex-Seleka militants erected barricades on the road leading from the PK3 neighbourhood to the hospital.

A number of incidents, including armed robberies, kidnappings and other type of attacks against civilians, were reported. The Christian populations of the town said they had been particularly targeted.

“They [Seleka militants] don’t want to see any Christians here,” one church leader said. “They say all Christians are Anti-balaka, so if you are caught, you are gone. They falsely claim that even church leaders are heads of the Anti-balaka. Christians never go to town. If they do, they are threatened, arrested, and asked to pay fines before they are released. There is no way to move to town. They have barricaded all roads, and if you venture out, you are at your own peril. We Christians have nothing else to do, no food to eat, no place to go. We rely only on prayers. Please pray for us!”

“It is a very difficult situation for us here. We pray for God’s help for us,” another church leader in the camp said.

It was against that backdrop that the massacre of dozens of farmers took place. On Friday 7 September, an angry crowd (made up of women, community leaders and youths) transported the bodies of the victims to the headquarters of the MINUSCA.

The protesters accused the UN peacekeepers of not doing enough to protect civilians. A local aid worker told World Watch Monitor that they had lost trust in UN troops, who “tend to act as fire-fighters, waiting to count the death toll, despite the equipment – including aerial material – at their disposal”.

World Watch Monitor also earned that the massacre took place few kilometres away from the MINUSCA base.

On 13 September, a high-level meeting took place between religious and community leaders, representatives of armed groups and the MINUSCA, to assess the situation. But no decision has been made about the bodies yet to be recovered from the bush, and some fear an outbreak of disease.

The protesters – estimated to number 400 by the UN – were chanting: “We want FACA [the national army],” and saying that more would be killed if they were not protected. Their call was backed up by a local MP, representing Bria.

Speaking to media, Claude Andoche Ndénguéré-Gondy said he was saddened by the killings and called for the rapid deployment of the Central African armed forces to secure the city.

Central African Republic has witnessed an upsurge of violence in recent months, notably with attacks targeting churches and clerics in Bangui, the capital, and Bambari, the second main city of the country. Since January, four Catholic priests were targeted, with three of them killed in separate attacks. Security remains the key issue in CAR.

Another Catholic priest killed in Central African Republic

Fredrick Nzwili, RNS
May 5, 2018

Militants killed a Roman Catholic priest this week in Bangui, the violence-wracked capital of the Central African Republic where Catholic and other faith leaders had made headway recently mediating between factions.

Former members of the mainly Muslim militant group Seleka are accused of killing Father Albert Toungoumale-Baba on Tuesday (May 1) at the Notre Dame of Fatima Church. Of the hundreds of worshippers gathered at the church, at least 24 were killed and 170 injured by militants who sprayed bullets into the crowd and detonated grenades.

Toungoumale-Baba is the second Catholic priest to be killed in about a month in the CAR.

The murdered priest’s church lies just outside the predominantly Muslim PK5 district of Bangui, where a U.N. peacekeeping force began working last month. The attack on the church is seen as a response to security operations that resulted in the wounding of a leader of a self-defense group that had been accused of terrorizing both Christians and Muslims, said Roman Catholic Bishop Nestor-Desire Nongo-Aziagbia.

The attack on the church Tuesday was followed by attacks on mosques and other Muslim institutions.

Seleka overtook the CAR’s central government in March 2013, and was dissolved months later. But ex-Seleka members still hold sway in the CAR, despite U.N. and other efforts to keep the peace. The Catholic Church maintains a high profile in such efforts but has grown uneasy with the killing of a second priest within weeks.

Last month Father Joseph Desire Angbabata, who served in a parish east of Bangui, died of bullet wounds after rebels targeted his church. He had intervened to protect refugees camped at the church compound from the rebels.

In the Congo, Catholic priests are also on alert. One was killed last month, the second in three years.

At least 30 killed in Muslim raid on Central African Republic church 

Guns and grenades kill Christians in the Central African Republic seeking sanctuary at refugee camp church. Priest says attack occurred Wednesday at the Church of Fatima in Bangui.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BANGUI, Central African Republic — A priest in Central African Republic says at least 30 people have been killed after suspected Muslim rebels attacked a church where Christians were seeking refuge.

The Rev. Paul Emile Nzale told The Associated Press that the gunfire and grenade attack took place Wednesday afternoon in a displacement camp at the Church of Fatima in Bangui, the capital.

An Associated Press reporter counted at least 20 bodies taken to a hospital in the city because the morgue was not in service.

Wednesday's attack is the largest in Bangui blamed on Muslim rebels since their Seleka coalition left power in January.

450,000 Christians Flee From Muslim Attacks in the Central African Republic

Assyrian International News Agency

The United Nations is demanding immediate support for the Central African Republic (CAR) during a very difficult period. Apparently over 450,000 people have fled their homes after the Muslim dominated Seleka took power and began persecuting Christians irrespective of the alleged government of national unity during the transitional period. Not surprisingly, Christians are trying to protect themselves against Muslim forces within Seleka which are clearly out of control. Therefore, bloodletting is sowing the seeds of distrust and clearly the international community needs to do something before the crisis reaches a point of no return.

Unlike Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, and in other nations, whereby various sects are persecuted, it is clear that in the CAR -- just like in South Sudan -- that Christians will not just sit back and wait to be slaughtered or become trapped in ghettoes. It is hoped that the international community will be fair in pointing out the real factors behind communal violence. After all, it is clear that religious tensions erupted after Seleka troops began to ransack Christian areas. However, the same media which always points out the "Buddhist" angle in Myanmar (more Christians have been killed in Myanmar than any other non-Buddhist religion in the last few decades) in relation to the persecution of Muslims in this country; they appear to loathe to point out massacres by Muslims forces in the CAR against Christians; just like the persecution of Buddhists and others in the Chittagong Hill Tracts is barely mentioned in Bangladesh.

In must be remembered that when less than two thousand people had been killed in Kosovo the West intervened rapidly and took this part of Serbia away from the indigenous Orthodox Christians. Yet when northern Cyprus was occupied by Turkey and Orthodox Christians were cleansed then Western nations did zilch apart from sell more military arms to Turkey. Similarly, when millions of black African Christians and Animists were massacred in Sudan (many forced into slavery and forcibly converted to Islam) you never had the threat of Western intervention. Likewise, the mainly Christians of West Papua are currently facing Javanization and Islamization in Indonesia but the world is turning a blind eye once more just like they did when the Catholic Timorese were massacred in vast numbers by the same forces.

Elizabeth Kendal reports in Christian Today that the "Central African Republic is French-speaking and its population is around 76 per cent Christian. On Sunday 24 March 2013, Seleka -- a coalition of local and foreign Arabic-speaking Islamic militias -- seized control of the capital, Bangui, in an orgy of violence and looting."

"But Seleka does not rape, loot and kill indiscriminately. Rather, Seleka attacks Christians and spares Muslims, causing traditional community trust to evaporate, and creating a sectarian tinderbox."

The same author reports that Christian militias are now retaliating and massacres against Muslims are happening based on the actions of Muslim forces within Seleka. Indeed, just like you have countless militias in Libya then it is difficult to define Seleka because many are mere rogue elements which are focused on economic goals alongside anti-Christian persecution. However, while religious agitation wasn't enforced by the usual Christian leaders of the CAR, it is abundantly clear that you have an Islamist cause within all the chaos and common criminality of forces within Seleka and clearly the so-called government of national unity isn't in control of the situation.

Christian Bishop Albert Vanbuel stated "a rebellion of religious extremism with evil intentions, characterized by profanation and planned destruction of religious buildings, especially Catholic and Protestant churches" is now in power. In other words, the new government under Djotodia is based on an agenda which threatens the religious mosaic of the CAR because elements within Seleka clearly have a religious angle.

The International Crisis Group reported "The new government of national unity is fragile and faces considerable challenges. Securing the country, organizing elections, restoring public services and implementing judicial, economic and social reforms, were agreed to in Libreville and remain on the agenda. But dissension within Seleka, the proliferation of weapons in Bangui and the deterioration of the social environment could jeopardize the very fragile transition. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating: the population is suffering from deprivation, which will be compounded by the rainy season, and there are some 150,000-180,000 internally displaced people. Faced with multiple problems, the new government will have to define security, humanitarian, budgetary and political priorities. To secure the peace and stability that previous governments failed to achieve, it must develop a new disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program and rethink security sector reform (SSR). Restoring security and promoting innovative approaches tailored to the country's needs are key to ensuring the success of the transition."

Of great concern is who is behind the funding of Muslim forces which are spreading sectarianism in the CAR? It isn't difficult to point the finger at Gulf petrodollars and similarly Sudan may have ambitions? However, currently you have no substantial findings in this regard because various specialists have provided different answers to this important question. Despite this, it is clear that Seleka is well armed (despite being disbanded this movement continues to kill and ransack) and the sectarian agenda also points to sinister outside forces.

France announced that they will send approximately 1,000 military personnel to the CAR which will top up the current 400 plus soldiers which are stationed in this nation. The Defense Minister of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, made it clear that France would send 1,000 troops to the CAR in order to boost security. However, unlike in Mali the role of France isn't clear because will France take sides or work with the tainted self-proclaimed leader of this nation? After all, in Mali the mainly black African Muslim ethnic groups welcomed France after a mixture of al-Qaeda affiliated forces began to attack indigenous Islam in this nation alongside genuine grievances felt by the Tuareg. Yet in the CAR it is clear that Christians in many areas lack faith in the current self-proclaimed leadership which is blamed for the bloodletting and setting the fire of sectarianism.

Le Drian said "France will support this African mission with about 1,000 soldiers…We will do this in support, not as the first ones in, as we have done for Mali, and for a short period, in the range of about six months."

France 24 reports "…Le Drian said the soldiers would act as support to a 2,500-strong regional peacekeeping force deployed by the Economic Community of Central African States. The African Union will take charge of the force in December and boost its size to around 3,600 troops."

The Security Council was urged by Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and highly respected diplomat from Sweden, to turn the CAR into an operation for the UN. He stated that "The CAR is becoming a breeding ground for extremists and armed groups in a region that is already suffering from conflict and instability…If this situation is left to fester, it may develop into a religious and ethnic conflict with long-standing consequences, even a civil war that could spread into neighboring countries."

If action isn't taken then the spiral of violence will only get worse and sectarianism will hang over the CAR. Yet, who will France, the UN and AU work with given the tainted self declared leader of this nation who clearly isn't trusted by many within the Christian community?

By Pierre Leblanc and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times