Elections set on tighter deadline as bedlam carries on

By April 11, 2013

CAR (MNN) — Chaos continues in the Central African Republic. But there is some good news.

The nation's presidential elections will be now held in 18 months instead of 3 years. It came as a demand from the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

ECCAS refuses to recognize rebel leader Michel Djotodia as a legitimate president of volatile CAR. Djotodia declared himself president after leading thousands of rebels into the capital city of Bangui on March 24, sending President Bozize on the run and triggering a wave of violence.

A United Nations envoy describes the current situation as "highly volatile" and says a government presence is critical.

"The government is almost nonexistent," says ICDI's Jim Hocking. "The government is trying to re-establish itself."

ICDI runs a Christian radio station in the CAR with the help of HCJB Global. They're also trying to re-establish a presence in the region.

Authorities and order still haven't been established three weeks after the coup started, meaning ICDI workers have to stay on their toes. Relaxing your guard could mean losing your shirt.

"We've had to hide vehicles, hide money, hide resources like fuel, casing…and still we lose some things," Hocking says.

During the coup's initial violence, looters stole computers, sound equipment, and a mixing board, taking the station completely off-air. Hundreds of CAR villages lost a vital resource when the station went down.

"Radio is essential," Hocking says. "It's the only method of communication on a village level that is consistent."

ICDI is a drilling and developmental agency, and Hocking says they use short-wave radio to communicate with the people they're helping. Along with meeting practical communication needs, Christian radio programming on the station meets spiritual needs.

"For 80% of the populations that we work with…communicating with those villages is just almost impossible without radio," states Hocking. "We do have serious needs to put this radio station–the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ–back on the air and continue to minister to the people."

On April 23rd, Hocking will head to the CAR to try and get things up and running again. But he needs your help.

"We could have the radio station back up and running in 3 weeks' time…if we have all the supplies we need," says Hocking. They need replacement computers and sound equipment. You can help by clicking here.

"We're trying to see if we can't purchase one of those computers in the next couple of days, and then we need to get the rest of them on-order before the end of the week."

Pray that ICDI staff will know they are not alone in this crisis. Pray that the needed resources will be provided.

Also, "Pray for courage. Pray for the stamina of the team to be able to hang in there," Hocking requests.

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