Africa: Deadly Violence against Christians

Africa: Deadly Violence against Christians
Reuters. Central African Republic

Deadly violence against Christians flares up in the Central African Republic. Muslim rebels brutally stabbed to death a Christian pastor, then proceeded to burn his church to the ground.

It was a fatal day on February 7th for a pastor in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). World Watch Monitor reports that Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui of the Eglise du Christ en Centrafrique (ECC) was killed by supporters of local militia leader Youssouf Sy (also called the “Big-man”) at his home in the restive PK5 neighborhood, following a military operation there by the CAR army and UN peacekeeping forces. The pastor was brutally stabbed and his church was burned to the ground.  According to the UN, at least three people were killed and 26 injured, including civilians and combatants. Various outbreaks of infighting between Muslim factions has caused thousands of Christians to flee their homes in the north of the country. 

According to World Watch Monitor CAR military together with UN peacekeepers recently attempted to capture local Muslim militia leader Youssouf Sy, but the operation failed and Sy and one of his men were killed in the incident. During the operation, Sy and his men opened fire on the security forces and killed two passers-by, a man and a woman, at which point the military returned fire and killed Sy and another militiaman. Sy’s supporters went on a “rampage” in retaliation for the operation, attacking people and destroying property.

“The incident took place following a military operation. Then militiamen started shooting. They burnt down our houses,” one internally displaced person (IDP) told local media, on condition of anonymity.

In retaliation Sy’s allies surrounded Rev. Sankagui’s church, then killed the pastor and burned the church building. After the initial attack, the Muslim militia set fire to two other churches in the area, the Apostolic and St Mathias Church, and also destroyed a local school. Militiamen also reportedly stormed a health facility with the intention of killing off the wounded.According to Dr. Michel Yao, acting U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the country, more than two dozen wounded were brought in for treatment.

“Armed elements forcefully entered into the facility with the intention to kill some of the injured,” he said.

According to UN reports, the attacks brought about the combined deaths of at least five people with 26 more injured. The poverty-stricken Central African Republic erupted in civil war in 2013 after Muslim rebels from the Seleka militia overthrew former president Francois Bozize, a Christian.

In recent weeks the topic of Christian persecution has been at the forefront of heated debate and controversy. In previous years it took a lot of political pressure and activism in order to get former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to publicly declare what is happening to Christians genocide. 

Even The Washington Times thought it important to write an article focused on the alarming Christian persecution worldwide. In the article they quoted several advocacy groups on the topic, including Open Doors. According to their figures each month about 322 Christians are killed, 214 churches or homes are destroyed and and almost 800 acts of violence against Christians are recorded. Advocacy groups were said to have called the situation a “blind spot” in the West concerning the plight faced by Christians around the world.

 

World Watch Monitor original article / TRUNEWS contribution. 

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