Sectarian violence continues to rage in the Central African Republic, with residents increasingly falling victim to deadly, faith-based attacks. In the latest example, Polin Pumandele, a Christian, was lynched Sunday by Islamic radicals.
Pumandele, 23, was carrying wood through a Muslim area when he was approached by a mob and attacked, according to a Washington Post reporter who witnessed the murder. After being thrown in a ditch and stabbed, attackers cut his throat.
It wasn’t until Pumandele’s body was carried in a wheelbarrow past Burundian peacekeepers — United Nations-sanctioned forces who are in the region to try and temper sectarian violence — that officials became aware of the killing.
The attack wasn’t random; according to the Post, extremists sought out Pumandele and two of his friends after accusing them of plotting to throw grenades at the Grand Mosque, located in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
While his two friends ran to safety, Pumandele went the wrong way — and the extremists eventually caught up. Burundian soldiers stationed in the area said the three men never had grenades.
When Pumandele’s family came to claim his body, they were overcome with grief.
“The Muslims did this. They cut his neck like a cow,” one relative said. “They are going to kill all of us.”
The newspaper reported that the incident will likely lead to further violence as friends, relatives and community members seek retribution over the attack. As a result, Muslims who come into the area could end up facing violence or death at the hands of Christians.
Pumandele is only one of many who have perished during clashes between Muslims and Christians in the region, the Post reported.
In December, Elisée Zama, a Bible translator, was gunned down in the Central African Republic where he was working with ACATBA, a biblical literacy organization that partners with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
The situation in the Central African Republic, a nation in central Africa, continues to be dire. Scores of people continue to be killed, as many hide in churches in hopes of escaping the carnage. More than 6,000 French and African soldiers have been deployed to help temper the storm, though violence continues to rage.
Following a coup in March 2013 by a coalition of mostly Islamic rebel groups known as Seleka, the political situation has been chaotic and unpredictable. A transitional government was installed, but has not been able to get a hold on continuing violence.
“Reprisals against Christians in particular in Bangui are of great concern,” Larry Robbins, a coordinator with SIL, a Wycliffe affiliate, said late last year. “There have been … reprisals in certain neighborhoods of Bangui, resulting in thousands seeking refuge on the airstrip of the international airport.”
(H/T: Washington Post)