AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Alindao: the number of victims rises to 48. The Bishops denounce: "the Church is in the sights of armed groups"

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 massacres   martyrs   bishops  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - The death toll of the massacre perpetrated in Alindao on November 15 (see Fides, 17/11/2018), has risen to 48, according to a UN report. The Vicar General of the diocese of Alindao, Mgr. Blaise Mada, and Don Celestine Ngoumbango, parish priest of Mingala and the people in the nearby camp for displaced persons were killed in the assault on the local cathedral.
The Central African Episcopal Conference stated that the Catholic Church "has become the target of armed groups in Central Africa". In a statement the Bishops ask the government and MINUSCA (UN stabilization Mission of the Central African Republic) to "coordinate their actions so that the perpetrators of these crimes and their instigators are arrested and brought to justice".
The men of the UPC (Unité pour la Paix en Centrafrique), an armed group formed by former members of the Seleka guerrilla coalition, which took power in 2012 overthrowing President François Bozizé, triggering a civil war that assumed a confessional character, are accused of the massacre.
The Bishops have urged Christian communities to remain calm and to pray for peace, avoiding to seek revenge that would trigger a cycle of violence that is difficult to stop.
In an interview with Agenzia Fides, His Exc. Mgr. Juan Jose Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, said that "foreign forces want to make Central Africans fight each other in order to get their hands on the wealth of the country and open the road to radical Islam in the heart of Africa". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 20/11/2018)