CAR religious root for peace efforts
CAR religious leader’s delegation
Religious leaders from the Central African Republic have decided to learn from the example of Rwanda to contribute to efforts of restoring peace in their country which has been torn apart by religious based divisions.
The CAR team of religious leaders said, during the peace conference held in Kigali this week; that the role of religion must be central in bringing CAR communities together lest they face the same history as in the case of Rwanda in 1994 genocide.
Sheikh Ibrahim Kayitare, the Mufti of the Muslim Community in Rwanda said that the lesson of Rwanda should be a clear example for other African religious leaders to root for peace and play their core role in the community.
CAR has been in turmoil over the past two years as a result of religious divisions between Muslim and Christians. Rwanda also faced a similar instance 20 years ago when the religious leaders played a major role in the genocide divisions that resulted to the death of over a million Tutsi’s.
Sectarian clashes (between Christians and Muslims) have been reported around Bangui, the Capital of CAR of which the Rwanda forces and other African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic have responded to the violence.
During the two day a peace conference which ended Friday August 8, 2014 in Kigali, Religious and youth leaders and delegates from Central African Republic and South Sudan, and host Rwanda held various discussions on how to engage peace efforts.
The conference is part of the three-phase intervention Rwandan religious community has planned to help people of CAR talk ways of peace and enable the groups to find peaceful means of resolving the conflict.
Early this April 2014, Rwandan religious leaders of all faiths joined their counterparts of Rwandan peace keeping forces to make a journey of proclaiming peace in the devastated Central African Republic (CAR).
Also in the pipeline, the religious plan on a series of press conferences to engage the world and the last phase will involve a group of religious leaders and youth representatives from Rwanda travel to CAR to take a message of peace.
The CAR delegation include Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the leader of the Catholic Church in the capital Bangui; Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyame Gbangou, the leader of the Evangelical Alliance; and Imam Omar Kobin Layama, the leader of the Islamic community.
Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyame Gbangou said that the conference was a point of focus to have religious leaders do they part. “we have a significant role in peace building and even though we religious have not been involved in the crisis, we have a job to do to stop the conflict” he said
As part of the intervention process Rwandan Defense forces have also held separate meetings with Muslims and Catholics at Marché Abetayi, 15 kilometers from Bangui with intentions to building confidence and trust between MISCA Forces and local Community.