Threats from jihadist and criminal groups
Over the last year, the situation has worsened for CAR Christians who face intensifying pressure from Muslim extremists. Christians are also threatened by jihadists and criminal groups in the country whose actions often overlap. And Christian civilians are still caught in the violent conflict between the mainly Muslim Seleka militia that has divided into several factions and self-defense militant groups called anti-Balaka that have effectively turned into criminal gangs. Both groups regularly attack churches and believers’ homes. Additionally, the population in Muslim-dominant areas has been influenced to oppose Christians. CAR continues to be mired in anarchy.
How Christians are suffering
The deadly conflict has wreaked havoc on the church in CAR with churches and pastors becoming the main target of Christian persecution attacks. Church buildings of Christian leaders who have denounced the violence have been burned and ransacked. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Christians who have lost their homes and livelihood—often forced to live in internal displacement camps (IDPs).
In addition to the insecurity and violence affecting all Christians, converts to Christianity face severe persecution from their immediate family members. Additionally, the local community will often ostracize Christian converts and attempt to force them to renounce Christianity through violence.
At the beginning of 2018, a prominent priest in Tokoyo was stabbed in an apparent assassination attempt by unknown armed men. An armed group staged an attack on the Notre-Dame de Fatima church in Bangui on May 1, 2018, killing 15 Christians and wounding 99.
Two months later in late June, a priest was killed in the town of Bambari by unknown assailants who entered the church compound in an apparent attempt to rob the church. In the southeastern region, two different IDP camps were targeted and attacked within weeks of each other—killing more than 60 people, including church leaders and injuring children.
Pray for Central African Republic
Pray with Christians targeted by Hausa-Fulani militant herdsmen and Islamic extremists. Pray that they will know God’s peace and provision in the midst of earthly chaos and loss of possessions.Pray for the wisdom of pastors as they minister to their congregations in the face of violence and ongoing bloodshed.Pray that the eyes and hearts of jihadists, criminal groups and Fulani militants will be opened to Jesus.
Central African Republic Photo Gallery
Stories from Central African Republic
June 6, 2019
An armed attack in the northwestern Central African Republic (CAR) left more than 50 residents dead and many more wounded. Read More
May 21, 2019
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Christians are being held, feet to the flames, and told to deny Christ. Read More
March 8, 2019
Around the world, Increasing numbers of Christian women are doubly vulnerability to persecution—for both their faith and their gender. Read More