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Two dead after sectarian clashes in Liberia: CEN 3.05.10 p 6. March 16, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa, Islam.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Charges of witchcraft and ritual murder have led to the deaths of two people and the destruction of an Episcopal church in sectarian clashes in Northern Liberia last week.

St Theresa’s Episcopal Church in the town of Vionjama in Lofa County along Liberia’s border with Guinea and the town’s Roman Catholic and Baptist churches were destroyed and a dozen people were injured after fighting broke out between Christians and Muslims after the body of a child was found near Vionjama’s mosque. Some of the child’s body parts had been removed, raising fears of child sacrifice or ritual murder.

The Reuters news agency reported on Feb 27 that the government had imposed a curfew and dispatched troops to bring the area under control.

Tensions between Christians and Muslims have been high across West Africa this year, with deadly sectarian riots having erupted in Nigeria and Guinea leaving hundreds dead. In a speech last month in Port Harcourt, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, urged Christians to take the first step in breaking free from the cycle of violence plaguing the region.

Christians should not return violence with violence, but be as “salt and light in the world”. He linked the political chaos in the region to a malign combination of ethnic and sectarian divisions coupled with rampant corruption.

It takes but a “few genuine Christians” to “transform the nation,” he said on Feb 23, urging Anglicans to have no truck with corruption. “Those who validate evil by connivance are not worthy to be called Christians,” he said.

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