Rebel forces known as ex-Seleka from General Ali Darassa’s faction have attacked refugees taking shelter in the compound of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Alindao in the Central African Republic. The attack which occurred on 15th November 2018 left 42 people dead including the Vicar General of the Diocese, Bishop Blaise Mada and two Priests. Houses in the vicinity were also looted and burned.

The attack was reported to have been carried out in retaliation for the killing of a Muslim by an Antibalaka militia a day before.

The cathedral premises was set on fire while the presbytery was ransacked by the assailants.

According to Fr. Amos Boubas, a Central African Priest who is studying in Rome and who is in contact with his confreres in the Central African Republic,

“After looting and burning the cathedral, the rebels headed towards the refugee camp where they killed at least 42 people. The two priests were killed by shots fired during the assault on the Bishops’ residence where they had taken refuge with other people”.

Nearly 20,000 people have been affected and thousands have been forced to flee once again.

Since 2012, the Central African Republic has suffered violence when several bands of mainly Muslim rebel groups formed an alliance, taking the name Seleka, and seized power.

Many Catholic churches in the country provide refuge to Muslims and Christians alike fleeing violence, included churches in the Diocese of Bangassou.

Thousands of people have been killed in the violence, and at least a million have been displaced. At least half of Central Africans depend on humanitarian aid. 

Pope Francis visited the Central African Republic during his trip to Africa in 2015 and urged the country’s leaders to work for peace and reconciliation.

ACN Malta