Catholic Bishops in CAR Highlight Country’s Challenges, Advocate for Security Reforms

Members of the Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Bishops in the Central African Republic (CAR) have highlighted challenges the country is facing and called on the government to spearhead reforms in the security sector to guarantee the safeguarding of the lives and property of citizens. 

In a statement issued Sunday, January 15, members of the Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA) say, “The year 2023 is beginning with promises of hope, projects and challenges, but also with concerns that are a source of anxiety.”

“Strong socio-political tensions are very noticeable in our country today,” CECA members say in the statement shared with ACI Africa, and add, “The uncertainty surrounding a revision, if not a rewriting of the constitution, is polarizing the political class, public opinion, the Central African diaspora, civil society and the nation's driving forces.”

The Catholic Bishops in CAR say that the uncertainty around the fate of the country’s constitution “is a source of concern and anxiety”.

They go on to analyze the challenges the country is facing amid crises at the international level, saying, “The Central African Republic (CAR), like other states in the world, is currently facing the negative consequences of the current international crisis.”   


“This crisis has obviously contributed to the deterioration of the social and economic fabric of our country, which was already weakened by numerous and recurrent military-political crises,” CECA members say in their eight-page statement.

They note that “fuel shortages and the exponential rise in the price of foodstuffs and basic necessities are already causing suffering to the Central African people.”  

“Certainly, in view of the international context of the crisis, the real-politics imposes on the governments of the countries of the world to take decisions and measures necessary to face the challenges of the moment,” Catholic Bishops in CAR lament.

They say, “We wonder, however, what consequences such decisions and measures could have on the weak households.”  

The Catholic Bishops in CAR express the fear that the decision the government may take in the face of the international crisis might “pave the way for a deep socio-political and economic crisis in the country.”

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While CECA members express their concern about the “worrying security” situation in the country, they laud the government for taking measures to address the challenge. 

The government, they say, has spared “no effort to restore peace, reconquer and liberate towns and territories formerly occupied by armed groups, and thus gradually re-establishing the authority of the State throughout the national territory.” 

“A clear improvement in the security situation, compared to previous years, cannot be denied,” they say, and go on to salute the memory of “our valiant soldiers who gave their lives so that our people can go about their business peacefully today.”

More needs to be done in the security sector for better results, Catholic Bishops in CAR says, and underscore the need to address logistical challenges alongside the provision of “appropriate equipment”.

“Our security and defense forces would be more effective in the fight against armed groups and would have already liberated some of our cities and towns that still remain lawless territories, if they had been provided with appropriate equipment and logistics,” they say. 


The Catholic Church leaders say they find it regrettable that “we are witnessing the villainous hostage-taking of government officials and humanitarian workers, and the heinous assassinations of travelers.”

With the dry season beginning, CECA members say, “It is feared that there will be an upsurge in excesses by armed groups, plunging the Central African population into a continual cycle of violence and nuisance.”

They call upon the government “to continue to fight relentlessly, with firmness and determination, for security and peace, the free movement of goods and of our fellow citizens.” 

In their collective message titled, “Communion and Participation for the Building of our Church and country,” CECA members go on to express concern about land grabbing and dilapidation of land assets.

“The risk of a socio-political and economic crisis and the security issue should not prevent us from taking into consideration the growing phenomenon of land ownership,” they say.

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The Catholic Bishops note that CAR has always been “a welcoming and hospitable land. Against all forms of xenophobia, hospitality and the welcoming of foreigners are inscribed at the heart of our Christian faith and in gold letters at the top of our ancestral and cultural values.”

“It is with a lot of questions that we are witnessing today a real eagerness and a rush of the nationals of the sub-region and even beyond it for the purchase of land,” CECA members say.

They continue, “We are aware that the underpopulation of the immense surface of our country, the abundant rainfall and the fertility of our soil, the immense potentiality of our arable spaces, our natural, forestry and mining wealth are attracting a lot of covetousness and generating as much suffering.”

As a way forward, CECA members advocate for “constructive dialogue” and a spirit of “consensus”.

“In the context of a social and political climate where we have been witnessing for some time the disturbing rise of mistrust, slander, hate speech, threats and insults, it is appropriate that each daughter and son of the country give priority to the search for constructive dialogue, consensus and compromise in truth,” the Catholic Bishops in CAR say in their January 15 statement shared with ACI Africa. 

Constructive dialogue, they say, “must be promoted at all levels of society, beginning in families, in the different structures of our Church, and in the public, political and administrative spaces.”

“The search for the common good must be the compass of all actors in social and political life,” Catholic Bishops in CAR say in their eight-page statement. 

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.