Credit where it’s due – an archbishop in CAR is warning of genocide and he’s not just worrying about the Christian victims. Astonishing but true.
A Central African bishop has reported signs of genocide in the growing conflict there, urging an effective security response and warning against the “evil” desire to kill and destroy.
“If there is no one to hold back the hand of the devil here, he will achieve his goal. Many people will be hunted down and killed,” Archbishop Dieudonnè Nzapalainga of Bangui told Aid to the Church in Need Feb. 12.
He said he had visited a town called Bodango, about 125 miles from the capital of Bangui, where all of the Muslims – who are among those targeted in the conflict – have disappeared. Members of the Anti-Balaka militia told him the Muslims had been driven out, but the archbishop was skeptical, fearing instead that they had all been killed.
“That over 200 Muslims, along with all their children and old people could have walked 125 miles is impossible,” the archbishop said.
So he’s pointing the finger at his own team, which is not what we have come to expect of archbishops. Bien fait, Archbisohop Nzapalainga.
Amid the violence, there are also peacemakers. In the southwestern town of Boali, Father Xavier Fagba at St. Peter’s Parish Church has sheltered about 650 Muslims since mid-January.
“Now is the time for men of good will to stand up and prove the strength and quality of their faith,” the priest told the BBC.
He said when he took in the Muslim refugees no one in the community understood him. “They attacked and threatened me.”
The church walls have bullet holes from opponents of the Muslims’ presence in the church. The refugees fear they will be killed if they leave.
Attacks on Muslims in Boali, including machete attacks, have killed several people including 22 children. Crowds have also torn down the town’s two mosques.
Father Fagba said he believes that some of the refugees in his church were involved in attacks on Christian families, though he does not mention this when he talks to them.
“When I talk to them it’s a call for them to change their lives and their behavior,” he said, adding that the Muslims should be considered “as our brothers.”
Well that’s even more impressive. That’s Desmond Tutu-level generosity.
H/t Leonie Hilliard.