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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Trauma Training for Victims of Rebel Attacks

When Seleka rebels attacked a church in Kaga-Bandoro in 2014, many Christians were killed, including the wife, brother and two children of a man named Ipolite Kimono. Ipolite, who escaped through a window, has struggled with grief for the last several years. “My heart was broken,” he said. “I constantly think about the situation. The visions come back into my mind, and I relive that awful moment.”

In July 2021, Ipolite attended VOM-sponsored trauma training, which helped him heal and gave him the opportunity to minister to others who have experienced trauma. “I have been able to forgive those perpetrators totally since the training,” he said. “I now help other people in the church who have been traumatized.”

Christians have been targeted in successive waves of violent attacks in the region since 2013. “Muslim neighbourhoods were intentionally spared in the attacks,” a Front-Line Worker said. Many Christians were displaced by the attacks and continue to struggle with emotional wounds.

Rebel forces were pushed out of the region in early 2021, allowing Front-Line Workers to begin meeting the needs of those affected by the violence through trauma workshops, medication distributions, education initiatives and Bible distributions “The needs of persecuted Christians in the area are great,” the Front-Line Worker said.

This story is from our July newsletter. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter here.

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