Fighting in the Central African Republic has escalated in the last few weeks, with clashes returning to parts of the capital city, Bangui.
On 2 May, gunmen with grenades struck the Notre-Dame de Fatima church, a Roman Catholic church, in Bangui. The cold-blooded attack claimed 26 lives and maimed dozens.
Last week (Monday 28 May), the United Nations’ Humanitarian Coordinator Najat Rochdi said CAR is still facing ‘a major humanitarian crisis’.
In light of that, Tearfund is appealing to all Christians across the world to unite and pray for the country.
The prayer focus are:
- Please pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in CAR.
- Ask God to protect and strengthen the most vulnerable people, in this time of crisis.
- Pray for protection of our team, partners and all humanitarian workers in CAR.
Tearfund works alongside partner organisations in CAR tackling sexual and gender-based violence, promoting good hygiene practices, providing alternative livelihood and income generation opportunities, and vocational training in skills such as farming and tailoring. They are also trying to rebuild relationships across the country, which has been badly divided by conflict. This can involve running football tournaments in communities and staging drama sketches with local community members.
Their team in CAR has its HQ in Bangui although not in the areas of current violence.
Tearfund’s Country Director for CAR, Athanase Ndayisaba, said,
‘Where we are in Bangui it is currently calm, and we pray that this state of affairs continues. Nevertheless, the armed groups operating in the PK5 district have not been fully disarmed…We pray that the Lord will contain these armed groups, stopping their attacks on civilians in their neighbourhoods and on humanitarian workers.’
Other than battling poverty, CAR has been going through rough times for a while now. A military coup in 2012 sparked the beginnings of the brutal conflict as an armed group undertook to topple the regime. This led to retaliation attacks from a second group.
According to UN estimates, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) today has arrived at almost 670,000, while there are over half a million refugees in neighbouring regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Chad. Of over 1.2 million Central Africans – more than one in four living in the region – is either internally displaced or an evacuee.