Rwandan clerics in CAR peace appeal

Rwandan religious communities, both Christians and Muslims, in partnership with Aegis Trust, a non-governmental organisation that manages the Kigali Genocide Memorial, have appealed to warring factions in Central African Republic (CAR) to find peaceful means of resolving the conflict.
CAR has been torn apart by a deadly crisis that has killed thousands of people and displaced many others . Net photo.
CAR has been torn apart by a deadly crisis that has killed thousands of people and displaced many others . Net photo.

Rwandan religious communities, both Christians and Muslims, in partnership with Aegis Trust, a non-governmental organisation that manages the Kigali Genocide Memorial, have appealed to warring factions in Central African Republic (CAR) to find peaceful means of resolving the conflict.

The Mufti of the Muslim Community, Ibrahim Kayitare, said on Wednesday that they were keen to see that what happened in Rwanda in 1994 never happens elsewhere again.

He added that in the past the religious community did not do much to intervene in seeking an end to conflicts.

The Rwandan religious community has planned a three-phase intervention:

The first will be organising a conference themed around peace where members and leaders of all religions in the country will host their counterparts from CAR and deliberate on ways to attain lasting peace in the CAR.

“In the second phase, we plan to have a series of press conferences where we will call upon the international community to intervene and stop what is happening in CAR; cannibalism, mass killings and other atrocities. Our work will be to call upon the world to play an active part and not turn their backs as they did in the case of Rwanda as the effects of doing so are dire,” the Mufti said.

The last phase will involve a group of religious leaders and youth representatives from Rwanda travel to CAR to take a message of peace. A Christian militia known as Anti-baraka continues to carry out deadly attacks against Muslim communities in CAR.

They will also raise funds for those affected and caught up in the atrocities as well as to facilitate the rebuilding of the country.

“Most of the plans have already been put in place and we have done most of what is required to embark on the initiative,” he explained.

Freddy Mutanguha, Aegis Trust Country Director, said the move was meant to ensure that what happened in Rwanda is not replicated elsewhere in the world.

“The Rwanda Defence Forces is already rescuing people in CAR, we will do whatever possible to see that what happened here never happens in CAR,” he said.

Bishop Nathan Gasatura, of the Anglican Church, said the move was aimed at sharing lessons drawn from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“As the United Nations Secretary General and the African Union Chairperson said, Rwanda is like a shining star and model on how to achieve reconciliation and lasting peace and unity. It is good that we do all we can to share our lessons with the rest of the world and ensure that no one else experiences what Rwanda went through,” he said.

The Bishop noted that the Rwandan peacekeeping contingent in CAR had made a lot of progress in trying to bring the two sides together to find a way to end the bloodshed.

Rwanda in January deployed a battalion of 850 peacekeepers in CAR to serve under the African Union mission. 

The U.N. Security Council yesterday passed a  resolution to create about 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force,  expected to assume authority from the African troops from mid-September.

 

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