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CAR Bishops Launch Appeal for Peace, Reconciliation

Even If There’s Progress in African Nation, Bishops Warn of Continued Challenges

Even if dialogue and hope for peace is growing between Muslim and Christian communities, the people of the Central African Republic still face great challenges.

This was the observation of the African nation’s bishops in a Jan. 10 message titled “Therefore choose life,” published after their plenary assembly, reported Fides.

In recent years, the Central African Republic has been suffering from a civil war between the Seleka rebels and the anti-Balaka militias.

The CAR bishops urged a concrete commitment of the international community, politicians, young people, parents, and those belonging to armed groups, to pursue peace and reconciliation.

Despite progress on this front, the bishops lament there are still many difficulties, especially violence.

Even if security has improved in general, some parts of the nation, including the capital Bangui, still have much violence caused often by recruiting young people addicted to drugs to armed groups.

“These militias occupy sections of the country who submit to terror and plunder,” the statement says.

Moreover, the bishops condemn that “people accused of witchcraft are buried alive on the basis of mere allegations through the abominable practice of popular justice. The strong movement of firearms has helped to arouse this new culture of violence and death.”

Despite continued challenges, the bishops compare their last meeting in June 2013 to the situation today, and say the security situation has improved thanks to the deployment of local forces and the U.N. Mission in Central Africa.

The message also lauded the re-establishment of public administration in some places and the “spiritual awakening” of different believers. To this end, the bishops thanked those who witnessed their faith through concrete gestures of solidarity and hospitality towards refugees and the displaced.

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