Two stories come today from the Central African Republic. One, “Terror Grips Central African Republic,” is published by IRIN Africa, a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (A portion of that story appears below, with a link to the rest of the story.) The second, a video shared by ICDI (Integrated Community Development International), a cooperating ministry in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, is full of hope. In it, Pastor Ibrahim Abakar tells how Seleka soldiers visited his church one Sunday morning and how God used the experience for good.
Briefing: Terror grips Central African Republic
NAIROBI, 17 October 2013 (IRIN) – The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is deepening more than six months after a coup by the Séléka rebel coalition.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in violence since the March coup, thousands have fled their homes, basic services have been adversely affectedand senior humanitarian figures have warned of a possible spillover of violence into neighbouring countries.Séléka, which propelled the current CAR interim President Michel Djotodia into power, “has since become the main perpetrator of violence against civilians”, says Oxford Analytica in a recent CAR brief.
What kind of rights violations are taking place?
The Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I’Homme (FIDH), has described human rights violations by Séléka as “international crimes”.
“In the absence of the army, the police and [a] justice [system], these youths who include children, terrorize an unprotected population. Heavily armed, with their pick-up [trucks] and motor bikes, they kill, kidnap, [and] torture for money or to stifle all protest. They burn entire villages and rape the women. These human rights violations qualify as international crimes,” it stated in areport.
The FIDH report highlights human rights abuses by Séléka including: a massacre in the area of Gobongo, in Bangui in June, where rebels shot at a protesting crowd leaving several dead; an upsurge in rape cases since the rebel takeover of Bangui; and the looting and burning down of houses in the provinces.
FIDH calls on the international community to place sanctions on Séléka leaders and warlords, including the freezing of their financial assets and urges International Criminal Court action to address impunity.
Below is the video of Pastor Abakar. As you watch, take a moment to pray for Grace Brethren ministries in the CAR.