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     Home > Justice & Peace >  2014-01-09 19:47:56
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Catholic Bishops in the Central African Republic say Conflict in the Country is not Religious

Catholic bishops in the Central African Republic issued a pastoral message on Wednesday expressing concerns about security in the country. They condemned the violence and the revenge killings taking place between the Seleka rebels and the different militia groups. Since the overthrow of the government by the Seleka rebels in march last year the central African Republic has experienced a state of lawlessness with Seleka troops attacking and killing the civilians, looting property, and burning villages.. This forced the ordinary citizens to form self-defense groups commonly known in the country as the anti-balaka. Balaka in the local language means a machete. The seleka troops and their collaborators, mainly Moslem youth, used machetes to kill and maim people. Some of the members of the anti-balaka groups are Christians. In their message the bishops criticized the media for portraying the country's conflict as religious in nature pitting Moslems against Christians. They clarified that not all anti-balaka militias are Christians, and not all Christians are Anti-Balaka. In the same manner not all Moslems are Seleka members and not all Seleka members are Moslems. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Bossangoa, the Rt. Rev. Nestor Désiré Nongo Aziagbia, has noted that Christian and Muslim communities in the Central African Republic are held hostage by the criminal logic of groups that are bent on creating violence and the population is paying the price. He said Seleka only brought suffering to the people as witnessed in their acts of rape, murder, kidnappings for ransom, robbery, burning of fields and homes, as well vandalism against the administrative structures, destruction of the municipal archives, looting of church structures, and the desecration of churches. He revealed that the cathedral of his diocese has become shelter to 50,000 displaced people and the public schools in the town of Bossangoa are giving shelter to over eleven thousand people.


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