West & Central Africa

Christians flee rampage by Muslim armed groups in CAR

The house of a church minister has been set on fire and Christian-majority neighbourhoods left deserted following a surge in violence in parts of the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui.

A week after at least 15 people were killed in an attack on a church service and Christian neighbourhood on 1 May, Barnabas Fund’s contact reported escalating violence:

“Our fears are being confirmed. Attacks carried out by armed groups in the Km5 have left tens of people dead since this afternoon … Kpetene and Gbakodja quarters lie deserted and empty, the inhabitants having fled in fear of attacks. Houses in Castors have been burned, including that of the church minister, and the chief of the quarter and many of the other inhabitants have been killed. The morgue is filled to overflowing with dead bodies.”

Barnabas’ contact concludes, “We do not know what will be the outcome of this situation. Please continue to pray … The same scenarios of the previous years are happening all over again.”

Despite the government agreeing a ceasefire with Islamist rebel groups in 2017, the Christian-majority Central African Republic continues to be wracked by violence. UN peacekeepers and government security personnel have been attacked by Muslim armed groups in Bangui, while reprisal attacks have also been perpetrated by so-called Christian “anti-balaka” militia groups.