23 August 2013

Central African Republic: Rebels Vandalize Church

Photo: voice of America
Central African Republic's new President Michel Djotodia speaks to his supporters at a rally in favor of the Seleka rebel coalition in downtown Bangui Mar. 30, 2013.

Bangui — Violence against the Catholic Church continues to surge in the Central African Republic, causing a group of priests and nuns to flee for the their lives. In a report sent to Fides News Agency, religious men and women of the Sœurs de la Charité fled from Bohong due to "violent reprisals from the Seleka rebel coalition.

The country has been in turmoil since the rebel coalition overthrew the government and installed rebel leader Michel Djotodia as president.

Fides also reported that frustrated local hunters retaliated against the rebels, killing 4 members including a colonel on August 16.

"The straw that broke the camel's back was the arrest, for no reason, of a young man who repaired bicycles and that of a tobacco seller," the source stated. The Seleka rebels returned with reinforcements and invaded the town.

The following day, "a group of young Seleka men, accompanied by some young Muslims of Bohong, went to the parish house, broke down the door and ransacked the house. Immediately after they looted the nun's house,"

"It is difficult to know the number of deaths and injuries both among the population and members of Seleka," the source added.

According to Zenit, on Sunday, August 18, a convoy sent by the Diocese of Bouar managed to rescue the priests and nuns. "We found out that the next day when the priests and nuns left, Seleka men returned to ransack the parish house and the convent, they burned the hut and thatched houses used for catechism, they desecrated the church and ransacked the sacristy, and took a vehicle belonging to Don Michel. Reprisals are likely to last for a long time," Fides source concluded.

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