The Central African Republic (CAR), as its name suggests, is in Central Africa.
It is landlocked, with Chad and Sudan to the North, South Sudan to the East, Democratic Republic of Congo to the South, and Republic of the Congo and Cameroon to the West. It is roughly the same size in area as the United Kingdom and has a population of about 4.1 million, which is roughly 80% Christian, 10% Muslim and 10% other.
Despite its significant mineral deposits (uranium, gold, oil, diamonds, and hydropower) and with plenty of good arable land, CAR is among the ten poorest countries in the world. It has a very low level of human development and has a poor health record.
Colonised by France in the 1800s after suffering greatly from the slave trade, it achieved independence in 1960. There are some 80 ethnic groups in the country each with their own language and tribal histories. This in itself caus-es problems.
Since independence it was ruled by a series of autocratic leaders until the 1990s when democratic elections were held. These were followed by a series of coups. In 2004 rebels opposed to the government took to armed conflict, and in spite of attempts at truces, this situation has continued on and off to this day. Since 2012 the situation has been complicated by increasing violence from Muslim extremists called the Seleka militia and opposing groups called anti-Balaka who have links to criminal gangs.
Christians somewhere in the middle, are seen as easy targets by both groups, and Churches, church buildings and believers’ homes are regularly attacked, with pastors and community leaders who speak out against the violence suffering most. The country continues to be engulfed in sporadic
anarchy. This has led to the displacement of thousands of Christians who have lost everything, often being forced to live in Internal Displacement Camps (IDCs).
The United Nations has a peacekeeping force in the country, but they appear to be unable to stop or control the violence, and attacks on Christians continue unchallenged.
• Thank God for the Christian Church in CAR. Pray that it will manifest true Christian characteristics of Love, Peace, Forgiveness, Compassion, and Neighbourliness, helping to restore peace and unity in the country.
• Pray that the church will teach the true Gospel message, grounding Jesus’ disciples in sound teaching so that they do not drift away from their faith in the face of energetic Muslim missions’ enticements and violence.
• Pray for the government to have wisdom and courage as it tries to bring peace and an end to violence in the country.
• Pray that the UN peacekeeping force will be more effective.
• Pray for an end to the violence and destruction of churches and Christian homes and businesses.
• Pray for wisdom and comfort for pastors and their families in the face of these difficulties and the continuing targeted violence against them.
• Pray for those forced to live in IDCs, that they will be well treated and get the help they need to find new homes and places to settle in safety.
• Pray that those persecuting the church will have their eyes opened to the truth and presence of Jesus.
• Pray for trauma counselling to be available for those who have been abused, especially women who have been raped or sexually assaulted.