CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
”Pray for this young, fragile but courageous Church” – interview with Fr Trinchero
Father Federico Trinchero, the Superior of Our Lady of Mount Carmel convent in Bangui, talks about the attack perpetrated recently in the Central African Republic and answers questions from ACN
ACN – What exactly happened? How many victims were there?
Father Federico: It was after a clash between police and Muslim militias in Bangui KM5, that the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, led by the Comboni missionaries, was attacked. A ceremony was being held for the feast of St. Joseph. The final number of casualties after the attack left was 24 dead and 170 wounded. Among the victims was Father Albert Toungoumale-Baba, a diocesan priest of the Central African Republic, among the most senior priests of the clergy in Bangui who was well known in the diocese. He was present at the celebration as chaplain of the Fraternity of Saint Joseph.
Let us not forget that just before Easter, another priest and several faithful had been killed in the parish of Seko (diocese of Bambari, in the centre of the country).
ACN: Why this renewed violence?
Unfortunately, the KM 5, a kind of enclave with a Muslim majority, remains a highly-charged neighbourhood where criminals hide and continue by their actions to destabilise neighbouring districts, where Our Lady of Fatima parish is located.
ACN: What is the message of the Church in the aftermath of this tragedy?
A message of peace and rejection of revenge. Father Albert who was killed was working in this direction. Cardinal Nzapalainga immediately intervened with a very clear message on peace. It must be remembered that the Cardinal is one of the most listened to voices in the country. He has a real moral authority and his word can really prevent the episode of 1st May from escalating further.
ACN: Do you want to ask for a specific prayer from our benefactors?
We ask the friends and benefactors of the ACN not to forget the Central African Republic. It is a country that has been suffering for too many years and seems to have been condemned to war and poverty. We ask you to pray for this young, fragile but courageous Church. We also ask for prayers for the young candidates to the priesthood so that like the abbot Albert, they can make the gift – with coherence and generosity – of their life for the Church and the people of Central Africa.
Amélie Berthelin – ACN France