World Watch Monitor
“When they began their rebellion, they did not have enough to feed themselves and their militants. They resorted to looting cows, chickens, foodstuff, shops and goods of Christians to provide for their troops as they advanced,” said Leke Mathias, a former businessman in Bria.
Rev. Francois Ngambeti of the Evangelical Alliance Church Committee told World Watch Monitor that when the crisis began, the Séléka sought pastors out to kill them. “According to them, the pastors were praying very hard for their failure. Some pastors were arrested and threatened that if Séléka’s mission failed, they would ‘finish’ them on their return”.
He also said churches were looted, often at gunpoint, which forced many churches and Christians’ shops to close down. Motorbikes, money, church offerings, musical instruments, generators, telephones, etc. were targeted by the militants.
In mid-2013, the movement called “anti-Balaka” emerged as a means of self-protection, but they soon began committing large-scale reprisal attacks against Muslim civilians and others.
The coup also led to rape as a weapon of war, condemned by UN Security Council Resolution 1820, passed in June 2008.
Komoya Lina, a female church leader, confirmed this: “Burnt houses, burnt attics and burnt fields, it’s really a disaster … Women are really traumatized by what is happening to them and even if they are not raped, they see their husbands being killed. Their daughters are raped in front of them and before their fathers and brothers...”