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Prelate laments unprecedented attacks on Christians in Central African Republic

Catholic World News - July 02, 2013

In a recent interview with a publication based in France, the Central African Republic’s leading prelate lamented the unprecedented persecution of Catholics and Protestants that his arisen in his nation in recent months.

The Islamist rebel movement Seleka gained power in March.

Previously, said Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, “there was no problem between Muslims and Christians.” More recently, “many foreigners, mercenaries arrived massively to invade and also to continue to despoil the people.”

“We have witnessed rapes, acts of torture, robbery, looting, pillage, devastation, vandalism,” he said. “All offices, hospitals, schools, and other institutions were literally destroyed.”

The widespread theft of automobiles and motorcycles from Catholic institutions, Archbishop Nzapalainga added, has drastically reduced pastoral activity, and the bishop of Bangassou must now minister to his diocese on foot.

The nation of 5.1 million is 50% Christian and 15% Muslim; approximately half of the Christians are Catholic. 35% of citizens retain indigenous beliefs.

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