CAR rebels siege church, kill unarmed civilians
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/9/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Showing blatant disregard for life and faith, rebel fighters alongside armed Muslim civilians in the Central African Republic killed several people in an attack on a church compound. Thousands of unarmed civilians had taken refuge there to escape the violence that has rapidly encroached one of the African continent's poorest countries.
Between 4,000 and 6,000 Christian civilians live at the the St. Joseph's Cathedral in Bambari. This photo shows them at an earlier Easter Sunday service.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attack in Bambari, 236 miles northeast of the capital of Bangui, came shortly before French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was expected to visit. A grenade attack had injured seven French soldiers the previous week.
Church officials said fighters from the Seleka rebel movement and armed civilians from the town's Muslim community had invaded the St. Joseph's Cathedral around 3 p.m.
"We don't have the exact death toll yet, but many people have been killed. As I'm speaking to you, they are still there," the Rev. Jesus Martial Dembele, vicar general for the archdiocese of Bangui said. Between 4,000 and 6,000 mainly Christian civilians live at the cathedral.
The Reverend Firmin Gbagoua, a priest at the cathedral says that the attackers suspected that Christian militia fighters, known as anti-balaka or anti-machete, were based inside.
"They came in. They are killing people," a nun inside the compound said during the attack, before hanging up.
One Seleka official said the attackers had been attacked by anti-balaka fighters in a majority Muslim neighborhood. One Muslim civilian was killed in the clash, he said. "All we did was retaliate," Ahmat Negad, one of the group's spokesmen in Bambari said.
In the meantime, the Catholic Church's Dembele accused the French forces of not stepping in to prevent the attack.
A French military spokesman disagreed, saying that French troops had intervened around 4 p.m. and took up positions between a mainly Muslim crowd including Seleka fighters and a large group of Christians when they came under small arms fire.
"We immediately returned fire and in all likelihood inflicted losses on that group," the military spokesman, Gilles Jaron, said. He declined to say by which group he believed the shots had been fired.
"Currently we are present around the bishopric to protect that population," he said.
One Bambari resident said a French military helicopter was flying over the town by late afternoon.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2018
Say 'No' to Corruption. That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.
On Sunday Pope Francis announced that the first Friday of Lent would be a day of prayer and fasting for peace given the many ongoing ... continue reading
It is common in Nigeria that nomadic herdsmen clash with farmers over the use of land. However, in the past year in particular, raids by ... continue reading
During a two day police operation, six women religious who were captured in Nigeria's Edo state two months ago were released unharmed on ... continue reading
Archaeologists have opened two new tombs at the Egyptian temple complex of Luxor. The tombs, near the ancient tomb of Hatshepsut, were ... continue reading
Up to 235 people have been killed during Friday prayers at a mosque in Egypt. The death toll, including many children, may continue to rise ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Christians remaining in ISIS territory hold faith and forgiveness in ...
- 'Living Lent': Tuesday of the First Week of Lent - Day 6
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 20, 2018
- St. Wulfric: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 20, 2018
- Deadly Flu Season: Vaccine only 36 percent effective during worst ...
- Try this fun Lent Quiz today!
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, February 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, February 18th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, February 17th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education