How many Christians are there in the Central African Republic?
There are 3.8 million Christians in CAR, which is 74% of its total population of 5.1 million.
How are Christians persecuted in CAR?
The Central African Republic has been in constant conflict since 2013 – and the persecution situation has changed very little in that period.
Many of the factions (including the infamous Wagner mercenary group from Russia) involved in the decade-long conflict have been credibly accused of human rights violations, even as they now control much of the country.
Christian leaders who dare to publicly denounce the violence have been threatened, and their church buildings have been burned and ransacked. Some of the anti-government militias target the Christian community, and in the many regions these rebel groups control, believers are at risk for abduction, murder, sexual violence and other horrific treatment. Militias also force believers into their ranks, leaving devastated families and communities. Christians in conflict zones are at risk not just because of their faith, but also simply because they are in conflict zones. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Christians forced to live in camps and lose their homes and livelihoods.
In addition to the insecurity and violence, converts from Islam also face persecution (ostracisim, pressure and even attacks) from their immediate family members and local community. Believers risk discrimination in the workplace, forced marriage, and having their children taken away. The threat is very real for Christians across CAR.
“One Sunday after the church service, [my husband] picked up some clients. Armed Fulani men stopped him and shot him. Christians are their preferred
targets.”zakia, a widow in car
What’s life like for Christians in CAR?
CAR is crippled by longstanding conflict and the affect on Christians has been devastating. This includes Zakia, a widow in her 20s.
“My husband earned some extra money as a motorbike taxi driver,” she explains. “One Sunday after the church service, he picked up some clients to take them to the neighbouring village. Armed Fulani men stopped him and shot him. Christians are their preferred targets.”
Without the protection of her husband, Zakia no longer felt safe in her village, so she moved to be near friends in another region. She’s welcome there but poverty is severe – thankfully the support of Open Doors local partners is helping.
“I thank God and all of you Christian brothers and sisters,” she says. ‘We have never met each other, but still you gave me so much help. May God bless you.”
How can I help Christians in the CAR?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in CAR. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works through local partners to support believers in the Central African Republic with persecution survival training, economic empowerment projects and trauma care.
Father, the situation in CAR seems so impossible and hopeless. It's been going on for so long, and there are no signs of relief. But we know You are a God who is not limited by the hopeless – we ask You to intervene and bring about changes in CAR, that peace would come and relief would be available for people there. We ask for Your deliverance of Your people in CAR, that they would be protected from harm and allowed to worship You. We pray for churches to be able to reopen without fear and for the worship of Jesus to ring out across the country. Amen.