Third priest killed this year
News has emerged of the murder of yet another priest in this war-torn country – Father Firmin Gbagoua, the Vicar General of the diocese of Bambari in the Central African Republic.
Father Gbagoua was killed at night on 29 June. The Vicar General of Bambari received “a bullet at close range in the abdomen around 19:00 on Friday, before succumbing to his injuries, while he was at the dinner table at the Archdiocese of Bambari with colleagues.”
This is the 3rd priest killed in the country since the beginning of the year, after Father Joseph Désiré Angbabata in March and Father Albert Toungoumalé-Baba who was killed with 15 of his parishioners in Bangui, on 1 May.
In a statement issued on 30 June and sent to ACN, the Conference of Bishops of Central Africa (ECSC) shares its “bitterness” on learning about the assassination of Father Firmin. The bishops strongly condemned the successive killings of priests in recent months and demanded justice: “We strongly call on the Government and the Minusca to coordinate their actions so that the perpetrators of these murders are arrested and brought to justice.” The bishops asked this question: “Who do all those abuses against the Catholic Church of Central Africa benefit? “
The ECSC again urged the entire Christian community “to remain calm and in prayer not to fall into the trap of those who want to show that Christians and Muslims can no longer live together in order to partition the Central African nation”.
In recent months, tension in the Central African Republic has steadily increased, and the Church has repeatedly called for calm and denounced interference from foreign countries.