CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Priest killed in assault on his parish
Father Joseph Désiré Angbabata de Séko, a priest in the diocese of Bambari in the centre of the Central African Republic has died. He had been badly injured on 22 March in an assault on his parish carried out by an unknown armed group.
Fr. Firmin Gbagoua, vicar general of the diocese of Bambari, confirmed the priest’s death and explained that the civilian population is unprotected and suffers attacks from armed groups. This new wave of violence has caused thousands of people to flee.
In recent weeks there have been incidents near Bambari caused by several armed groups, considered close to the Sélèka rebel coalition. According to local sources, about thirty people have died in recent days during the fighting between the Sélèka and anti-Balaka militiamen in some villages in the area.
Some former Sélèka created the movement for the Unit for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) led by Ali Darass. The hostilities were triggered by the murder of an anti-Balaka militiaman in the village of Gotilé, 35 kilometres north of Bambari. In retaliation, the anti-Balaka attacked members of the UPC in the village of Tagbilaran, 72 kilometres north of Bambari, and killed about fifteen of its members. The UPC militiamen, in turn, attacked several villages in the area, causing their inhabitants to flee to the forest.
People have become accustomed to war and the presence of armed groups no longer attracts attention from anyone, as if it were the normal state of things. Seventy percent of the territory suffers from fighting, but the proportions of this carnage are unknown, as is the death toll.
The conflict of Central African Republic is largely ignored by the rest of the world. Beyond Bangui, the lack of information and publicity is absolute. It matters little that in the capital itself several armed groups fight over whole neighbourhoods and civilians have died daily. The world media remain indifferent.
The religious connotation of the groups involved in the fighting is only a pretext exploited to achieve political and economic objectives. They have been denounced by the religious leaders of Central African Republic, including Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui.
The area of Bambari is rich in gold and diamond mines and the CAR should produce enough gold, uranium, best quality wood, and diamonds for all its inhabitants to live in comfort. In contrast, the civilian population does not have to eat and people die of commonplace diseases that are easily cured in the first world.