BACKGROUND: A civil war between anti-government and mainly Muslim rebels since 2013 has displaced about 600,000 people. In response to a coup attempt by the Islamic Seleka rebels, militia groups banded together to form the anti-Balaka “Christian” militant group. Both sides are guilty of atrocities.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Christians make up 50 percent of the population, but most are strongly influenced by animistic beliefs and practices.
PERSECUTOR: Christian communities are targeted by Muslim rebels.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Because of the civil war between rebel groups identified as “Muslim” and “Christian,” it is hard to separate religious persecution from political persecution. There are, however, some clear cases of persecution against Christians. In a four-week period in 2017, five pastors were murdered by Seleka rebels. Reports of churches and pastors being targeted are also common. A small but vibrant community of active Christians work to meet the great needs of their nation.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles can be purchased in the capital city, but most people cannot afford them. They can be legally distributed.
VOM WORK: VOM supports the families of those who are targeted for their Christian faith. We also distribute Christmas Care Packs, Bibles and children’s literature.