CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC25
World Watch List: 25
Leader: President Faustin-Archange Touadera
Population: 4.8 million
Christian: 3.5 million
Main Religion: Christianity
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Central African Republic through:
- Persecution preparedness
- Enhanced discipleship training
- Trauma care and social rehabilitation
- Socio-economic development
“It is only by the grace of God that I am here today, not by my own strength. I thank God for protecting and sustaining me today. It has been very difficult, but we are here. We will move forward, knowing that only God can protect us. And even if death should come, I will die in the Word.”
– Pastor Zoundji, leading a congregation of 200 in the largest internally displaced people camp in CAR.
Source of persecution: Islamic oppression / Organised crime and corruption
7th year of fighting
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been embroiled in conflict since 2013 and most of the country is occupied by armed militia groups, responsible for a range of human-rights abuses. Despite efforts from the CAR government and the United Nations peacekeeping missions, fighting and criminal activity continue to ravage the country. Both Christian and Muslim civilians are suffering from the violence. Before the civil war began in 2013, the Christians and Muslim in CAR lived in peace with each other. But the fighting over these past few years has fundamentally changed the relationship between the two groups.
Thousands of victims
Christian leaders who have publicly denounced the violence have been threatened and church buildings have been burned and ransacked. Thousands of Christians have been displaced and are forced to live in camps after losing their homes and livelihoods. Churches that have opened their doors for those seeking refuge have also become targets of attack by militants. Young Christian women were also abducted during attacks. In the WWL2020 reporting period, at least 900 Christians were killed, 2,100 attacked, and 47 churches destroyed.
Militants that were targeting Christians have also started fighting among each other besides fighting the government, resulting in a slight drop in pressure and violence against Christians.
In Muslim-dominated areas, the situation is even worse for Christians. Christians and churches are always under the threat of attack by ex-Seleka groups, especially those that are active in integrating believers from a Muslim background. The latter also face opposition and pressure from family members to renounce their faith if they are discovered, and are in danger from militant groups.
- For the many thousands of people, the majority of them Christians enduring life in IDP camps. Pray that the Lord would be at work through his Holy Spirit and that the people will come to know God’s grace and providence intimately.
- For the government and the peacekeeping missions to have wisdom and good governance, such that order can be restored to CAR.
- The morale of church leaders in the north and east is very low. They have lost a lot themselves and are struggling to lead their congregations. Pray that they will be built up in the Spirit and be able to comfort others because they themselves have received comfort from the Lord.