HCJB partner off the air in Central African Republic

By March 28, 2013

hcjbicdiCentral African Republic (MNN) — A Christian radio station in the Central African Republic is off the air after a rebel coup in that beleaguered nation.

HCJB Global reports that on Monday, March 25, the radio station operated by their ministry partner, ICDI, in the Central African Republic (CAR) was off the air as looters stole and damaged some of the radio equipment that had been moved to the ministry’s offices in the capital city of Bangui for safekeeping after the fighting began.

Stephen Peacock, an HCJB Global machinist who was in CAR, departed the country just hours before the capital was overrun. “There was looting at the place we had stayed, and the radio station had been partly dismantled.” A generator and transmitter pieces were stolen.

Other missionaries and the staff at ICDI were forced to abandon the compound as the conflict escalated.

Peacock says he’s not sure why these items were taken. “A generator is useful. It looks like one of the reasons they take stuff is to sell it for scrap metal to get money, which is a real shame and totally wasteful. Some of the stuff they [can] use, but a transmitter they cannot use.” Looters just take whatever they can get their hands on.

There were reports of shooting near some of ICDI’s other facilities. Looters also stole three of the ministry’s vehicles.

At this point, the radio station is off the air. The transmitters remain at the downtown location, three computers and a mixing board were stolen, and it is unsafe for anyone to be out in public.

Peacock says the rebels came back a day or two later. “This time they were not so much looking for things to take, but just a place to hang out. The staff actually sat down and had coffee and was sort of friendly with them instead of trying to fight them.”

While all ICDI staff members are safe and accounted for, Alexandre Pembi, an accountant who has worked for several years with ICDI, confronted some of the looters as they entered the compound in Bangui. He was not injured in the confrontation, but Jay Hocking, ICDI’s communications director, said, “His frustration at the organization being looted after he’s spent years of his life working hard to get it to where it was, made him take some rather risky actions.”

Please pray for the safety of ICDI staff and HCJB Global in CAR during this volatile time.

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