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What it’s like to be a missionary in Central African Republic

Father Yovane Cox at his parish in Bema. CAR. (Credit: Father Yovane Cox.)

– Especially in war-torn Central African Republic, Christians are called to the virtues of forgiveness and mercy, reflected a priest from Chile who has spent 12 years as a missionary in the central African country.

“Being a Christian in the Central African Republic means witnessing to the forgiveness and mercy of God,” Father Yovane Cox told ACI Prensa.

The Central African Republic has suffered violence since December 2012, when several bands of mainly Muslim rebel groups formed an alliance, taking the name Seleka. They left their strongholds in the north of the country and made their way south, seizing power from then-president Francois Bozize. Their president was in turn ousted in a negotiated transition in January 2014.

In reaction to the Seleka’s attacks, some Central Africans formed self-defense groups called anti-balaka. Some of these groups, mainly composed of Christians, began attacking Muslims out of revenge, and the conflict took on a sectarian character.

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