Pope visits Christian-Muslim conflict zones in Africa
Pope Francis arrived in Kenya two days ago to promote reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.
Kenya is a Christian-majority country.
Earlier this year, Muslim militants attacked the Garissa University College campus which housed mainly Christian students. The Al-Shabaab gunmen killed nearly 150 Christian youths on Maundy Thursday (April 2), three days before Easter Sunday which fell on April 5.
“If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot.” See, ‘Christians hunted down as al-Shabab kill 147 in Kenya’ (TIME magazine, 2 Apr 2015)
“… terrorists stormed a college campus and shot any Christian dead on the spot” – news reported in video below.
An attack by the same group in 2013 at the upmarket Westgate mall left a death toll of 67 including four gunmen. Al-Shabaab allowed Muslims to leave the shopping complex while they killed the Christians – pix below.
‘Terrorists target Christians in Nairobi mall, killing more than 60 shoppers’ (Christianity Today, 22 Sept 2013).
In between the two al-Shabaab attacks of September 2013 and April 2015, a total of 64 Christians were executed in Kenya over a three-week period in 2014.
On 22 Nov 2014, a total of 28 bus passengers – mostly teachers – returning home for Christmas break were killed after their vehicle was hijacked. On 2 Dec 2014, quarry workers were shot dead in the town of Mandera. According to media reports, Christians were separated from Muslims in both incidents.
See, ‘Kenya church leaders alarmed by al-Shabab’s persecution of Christians’ (Religion News Service, 10 Dec 2014)
Uganda is a Christian-majority country.
The pontiff is now on the Uganda leg of his six-day tour of troubled African countries.
In mid-2014, Ugandan Christians burned a mosque in Kyegegwa district which is 250km west of the capital Kampala.
Christian militants in Uganda join the Lord’s Resistance Army – LRA soldier pictured below.
These Christian terrorists “emerged from the remnants of the Holy Spirit Movement army”, see Al-Jazeera’s 6 May 2014 profile of the group. They have a “notoriety for murdering, raping and kidnapping”.
As recently as last month, there was bloodshed between the Christians and Muslims in Uganda. The latter are upset because many of their brethren have been led to Jesus.
‘Evangelist in eastern Uganda killed after Muslim-Christian debate’ (Morning Star News, 15 Oct 2015).
The Christians however retort that Uganda does not have any law prohibiting active proselytization.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Central African Republic is a Christian majority country.
From Uganda, Pope Francis will proceed to visit the Central African Republic on Sunday.
See, ‘Pope Francis goes to war-ravaged Central African Republic Sunday, amid killings and violence’ (CBC, 26 Nov 2015). “The mosques were destroyed. The Koran was torn up. They killed Muslim civilians without distinction and confined them to enclaves.”
The sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in this war-torn country is much worse than in Kenya and Uganda.
BELOW: Dead bodies in a mosque
The Christian militia here are known as anti-balaka fighters. According to the BBC, the Muslims are “victims of a barbarous militia that wants every one of them dead or gone”. See, ‘Central African Republic: ‘Massive scale ethnic cleansing’ (BBC News, 19 March 2014).
Christian love: Turning the other cheek
‘Christian-Muslim bloodbath devastates Central African Republic’ (UPI, 11 Nov 2013)
In a press conference in Bangui on 20 March 2014, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters, “The inter-communal hatred remains at a terrifying level, as evidenced by the extraordinarily vicious nature of the killings”.
“This has become a country where people are not just killed, they are tortured, mutilated, burned and dismembered – sometimes by spontaneous mobs as well as by organized groups of armed fighters,” Pillay said.
In the latest development, “leaked UN report claims Christian rebels burned elderly women alive”. See article yesterday in the International Business Times.
The Christians have only love for their enemies.