In the coming days, I will publish a number of articles regarding some recent developments in Africa that affect Christians world-wide. Today I begin with the human tragedy in the Central African Republic (“CAR”). CAR is a land-locked country in the heart of Africa, and its people are among the poorest in the world. In recent weeks, there have been clashes between Christians and Moslems in the town of Boda. These clashes have killed 75. As a result, local pastors say that thousands of people are now seeking refuge in churches, and are in desperate need of help. The BBC News reported that Father Cassien Kamatari said that most of the dead in Boda were Christians. It is not known how many Moslems were killed, as their bodies are quickly buried.
The Christian ministry, Open Doors, has ranked the Central African Republic 16th on its 2014 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the greatest persecution. One of the Open Doors field directors sent The Christian Post the following information:
We would need the help of other organizations and an escort to visit those sites. So until we can have that organized, we decided to stick to the areas more easily accessible which include some of the refugee camps scattered across [Boda]. First, we visited the displaced at two church compounds. As we entered the first camp, I was moved with compassion when I saw the difficult circumstances people are enduring. . . . New families keep arriving in the camps, indicating that security remains a problem in many areas in town. For camp staff, major challenges include the provision of water, sanitation and food. The UNHCR has provided some large shelters, and the Red Cross has dug some pit latrines and set up improvised washing areas.
Obviously, the potential for the spread of disease, such as malaria and cholera, is a grave threat to these Christian brothers and sisters, especially as the rainy season is coming in a few weeks. During the rainy season, mosquitoes flourish, and the camps are filled with mud. The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 200 hundred million documented cases of malaria annually that kill one million people. Of those killed by malaria in Africa, most are children. The BBC News noted that France presently has more than 1,600 soldiers in the Central African Republic; the French troops are also working with another 4,000 regional African Union troops attempting to end the deadly violence. One million people, or 20 percent of that nation’s population, have been displaced, and forced to flee their homes.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has asked for another 9,000 peace-keeping troops to intervene in the CAR. France and Poland are sending additional troops, and Estonia and non-EU member nation, Georgia, have also offered to send troops. What has been the response by the United States? On this government holiday weekend when President Obama flew to California to play golf, the United States government has responded to Secretary General Ban’s request for an increased military presence by expressing reservations about its costs. (Yes, really.) Further, although Mr. Obama said yesterday that he was “deeply disappointed” for Uganda’s stance is considering the criminalization of homosexual conduct, he said nothing regarding the religious violence in the CAR. Please pray for these suffering people in the CAR, both Christians and Moslems.