Religious attacks bring a new meaning to persecution

C.A.R.Religious persecution is often associated with Christians as the victims and other religious minorities as the victimizers. However, in the Central African Republic, also known as CAR, the opposite is taking place.

Christian militias known as “anti-blakas” are attacking and killing Muslims. This branch of Christianity does  not follow the same beliefs as Christians in America. They mix Christian beliefs with traditional African customs and use fear to either convert their opponents, kill them, or cause them to leave.

This type of religious enforcement is known as “ethnic cleansing.” This religious battle

began roughly a year ago when the Muslim rebels seized power in the CAR and then lost it again

around December 2013. Since then, Christian militias have been fighting back and

killing every Muslim they see in the process.

Thousands of Muslims are being evacuated from their homes in an attempt to protect

themselves and their families. Many of these refugees are headed to Bangui, the capital of the

Central African Republic. There is a refuge in Bangui that is protected by the African Union

peacekeepers.

Once a month, refugees join a convoy that heads to safety. These refugees are not safe until they reach their destination.

BBC news reporter, Kassim Kayira said, “Roughly 150 Muslims begin the journey and by the end there are over 2,000 Muslims on the convoy.”

“These travelers often encounter lynch mobs and road blocks along the passage to Bangui,” said Kayira.

In one trip, over 20 road blocks were set up to kill the Muslims on the convoy. However, the peacekeepers prevailed against the odds and used the night to their advantage. Only two of the passengers lost their lives, but seven of the militias were killed.

The success of these rescue missions are of grave importance to the CAR. The CAR government, as well as other agencies, are teaming up with peacekeepers to protect these refugees. They will help supply the peacekeepers with food and supplies for their journeys.

AU commander, Maj. Gen. Martin Tumenta said, “It’s a major operation and is of vital importance to the economy of this country.”

Aid agencies fear an exodus of Muslim cattle-herdsmen and traders will lead to famine and economic collapse.

Elodie Nguerele, a traditional Christian who teaches in Bangui, said, “ Traders have mostly left and there is little security at the markets. With few means of making money, we are in trouble.”

– Tiffany Babb, Contributing Writer

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