For background on the diabolical yet totally ignored situation in Central African Republic, see: Churches targeted as Muslim rebels seize Bangui in an orgy of raping, killing and looting
By Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring, 13 May 2013
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, label: Central African Republic (CAR)
The Church must not let this crisis be whitewashed or covered over by foreign forces interested only in power and economic gain.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
(Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (Matthew 25:45 NIV)
The following letter was written by a local who is trapped in Bangui, to a former colleague now living in the West.
LETTER FROM BANGUI
Bangui, 19th June 2013
It is with much bitterness that I seize once more this opportunity to describe to you the situation in which we are living at this present time. But first of all I ask you to accept my apologies for the long silence between you and me. If you have noticed that I have not called you lately, it is simply because we are enduring Calvary, but it is by the grace of God that we survive.
At the moment of my writing to you we enjoy good health, but it is the suffering that is torturing us. In actual fact since the "Seleka" coalition took power on the 24th March 2013 our country has regressed by a century. I hope that you have read everything on the internet about everything we are going through at the moment. The country is literally ruined. Everything has been destroyed, devastated and plundered. Since then, until today, total insecurity rules. The weapons crackle all the time. We don't sleep at night because of the sporadic shooting. They are everywhere in the town and drive at great speed with heavy weapons in their vehicles.
They commit extortion and rape to mention only these two. I assure you, that I have no desire to live in the C.A.R. If it wasn't for my family, I would prefer to go and live peacefully somewhere else, but unfortunately I can't do anything. The rebels are so numerous; they have spread across the whole country. Their number is estimated to be 20,000 men. Can you imagine? It is total anarchy and hysteria. Even worse they have destroyed everything. In the townships which they occupied before entering Bangui, they destroyed wooden tables to use the wood for firewood. We wonder why they chased the ex-president out of the country.
They control the government finances, such as customs and taxes. All the takings they detect go into their pockets and the state treasury remains empty. Among them are Chadians and Sudanese who make their own laws. From what we are currently experiencing we have the impression that it is Islam – at the expense of Christianity – that is in the process of settling in our secular country. If you saw the pictures of everything I am telling you, you will not believe it. Since the coffers of the State are empty, I assure you that we have not been paid since the 24th March 2013. They came to enrich themselves and not to liberate us as they say.
This week there is so much misery that a saucepan concert starts at 18h [6 pm] when the whole population strikes their saucepans together to indicate that they are starving. Sometimes we don't eat for two or three days. We have just to be content with stodge like cassava leaves prepared without peanut paste and without palm old, just only with salt.
In any case if you saw us in your magic mirror, we have all lost weight. We are in a truly difficult situation. At the moment our country is under embargo. As a result there is no assistance coming through. As the transition period is going to last 18 months, we are all going to die before the end of this period. As I am thinking so much, I have melted so that you would not recognise me if you saw me.
What worries me a lot is our baby. She has already started to eat thin porridge made with maize flour, which is not very nourishing. As she is not getting enough to eat, she suckles her mother a lot. As a result her mother has lost a lot of weight. Sometimes when we wake up in the morning the children have not a single fritter for breakfast. [The writer then confesses that he is considering sending his children to live with relatives in a remote region, far from Bangui, where the situation is less dire.]
I think that I have said enough. So I am going to leave you, firmly hoping to have a favourable response to my grievances. My children and their mother embrace you. They unanimously begged me: "Papa, tell Rosie not to turn her back, because we are dying of hunger!"
Goodbye and until soon,
(Name withheld for security purposes)
Please raise this issue with your MPs, speak about it through your media and with your colleagues, neighbours and friends -- that the church in CAR might not be forgotten.
Most of all -- please pray for the church in Central African Republic.
For prayer suggestions see RLPB 210 (13 May 2013)
Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)