After about two months of relative calm in Central African Republic (CAR), the peace was broken last week by overtures from the SELEKA rebel alliance that they would move on the capital, Bangui. They accused President François Bozizé of not living up to the peace agreement that was signed in January.
In preparation for the advance on Bangui, the rebels overran several more strategic cities in the East and in the North of the country. Then, last Friday, March 15 (exactly 10 years since President Bozizé took over power following a rebellion of his own), the SELEKA group advanced on Bangui. There was some resistance on Friday afternoon, but then the rebels progressed on to the Northern edge of the city on Saturday. By noon on Sunday, the city was in SELEKA’s hands.
One of their leaders, Michel Djotodia, declared himself President over national radio, but urged calm in the city, and throughout the country. Despite that appeal, looting began on Sunday over many parts of the city and continues to be a problem.
How does this affect our orphans? It’s very hard to tell, because the city’s electricity and most of the cellular telephone services for the city have been off since Saturday. We have been unable to get in touch with our Orphan Care leader, Edmond, since last week. We did hear that the Orphan Care Center has not been looted as of yet, so we praise the Lord for that.
But, we did hear today that, in one area of town where two of our projects are located, there was some violence when the SELEKA troops came to arrest an old man that was related to someone in the past government. The community in that part of the town resisted the onslaught, defending the old man, and skirmishes broke out. From the report, the troops retreated to get reinforcements and returned to try and forcefully put down the resistance from the community. The results were a number of civilian casualties.
We do have a praise! Our 100 orphans in Berberati, in the West of the country, are safe and there does not seem to be any unrest in that city.
Please continue to be in prayer for the safety of our staff and the 550 orphans under VisionTrust’s care in Bangui.
Thanks so much for standing with us on behalf of these loved children of the CAR. Prayer can make the difference in the midst of chaos! Our God is an Awesome God!