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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/13/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bishop, along with three parish priests spared execution by Islamist extremists

Bishop Nestor Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa, along with three parish priests in Central African Republic narrowly escaped being executed by Islamist rebels.  The bishop says that he and the priests were abducted during a parish visit.

'I was taken to the colonel, who accused me of ruining his plan to regain Bossangoa and putting defamatory statements against him on the internet,' Bishop Nestor Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa told reporters.

"I was taken to the colonel, who accused me of ruining his plan to regain Bossangoa and putting defamatory statements against him on the internet," Bishop Nestor Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa told reporters.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/13/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Central African republic, bishop, execution


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I was taken to the colonel, who accused me of ruining his plan to regain Bossangoa and putting defamatory statements against him on the internet," Nongo-Aziagbia told reporters.

"The rebels removed my pectoral cross and episcopal ring. Then my three priests and I were brought to Sidot to be killed . But our convoy was stopped thanks to intervention by the international community and the commander of the local military area of Seleka, a general, who did not agree with the execution order," the bishop said.

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The latest abduction came a week after a priest was shot dead in the nearby town. Father Christ Forman Wilibona was killed by Seleka militants in Bossangoa on Good Friday.

It's indicative of the turmoil which continues to grip Central African Republic, where thousands of people have died and up to 1.5 million people have been displaced by violence. Arab-speaking Islamists, known as Seleka, began an offensive in December of 2012 following the toppling of the government of former President François Bozizé.

While the Seleka coalition was declared dissolved in September and a new president was inaugurated the following January, clashes have continued with groups from a mostly Christian militia, known as Anti-Balaka.

The upheaval here continues to roil in spite of the deployment of 2,000 French and 5,000 African peacekeepers.

Kim Pozniak of Catholic Relief Services, the aid agency of the US bishops' conference, said she feared the planned deployment of 12,000 United Nations peacekeepers in September would be too late to safeguard the Central African Republic's crucial planting and harvest seasons. "Many people are too afraid to work in their fields. If they don't plant now, there won't be a harvest and things will get much worse," she said.

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