8 September 2017

Central African Republic: Cardinal Nzapalainga Calls for Religious Unity to End Violence

Bangui — Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Bangui has called on Muslims and Christians to work together for peace.

"Our aim is to have a united Central Africa, where Christians and Muslims live in peace," said Cardinal Nzapalainga September 6 during the launch of Central African Religious Confessions Platform (CARCP).

"We have always refused to say that anti-Balakas are Christians. They are killers, point. That is why we have created the platform in order to affirm the unity of our religions," he added.

Speaking during the same function, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama said that it was important the country focuses more on what unites the nation presently and in future to avoid further bloodshed.

"It is our job to give value to what unites us and not to what divides us", Fides quoted imam Kobine as saying.

He noted that they can contribute to "disarming the souls" but the intervention of the international community is needed to ensure security which is still precarious.

80 percent of the 4.6 Million people in CAR are Christians (half Catholics and half Protestants) with 20 Percent being Muslims.

CAR was pitched into a war between Muslim and Christian militias in 2013, unleashed when President Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown by a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups called the Seleka.

The groups on both sides are now fighting for control of natural resources, including gold and diamonds, as well as regional influence after a conflict that saw half a million people flee the country of 4.5 million.

In recent weeks, at least 60 people have been killed -- including at least six aid workers from a local branch of the Red Cross -- in fighting between armed groups in Ngaoundaye and Batangafo in the north, Kaga-Bandoro in the centre and Alindao and Gambo to the south, AFP reported.

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