Catholic World News

Central African Republic bishop: ‘they are cutting the throats of men and children’

August 10, 2017

A Spanish missionary bishop in the Central African Republic said that militants associated with Muslim-dominated Séléka rebel group sacked the Catholic mission in the village of Gambo.

Bishop Juan-José Aguirre Muñoz said that the militants killed 50 people and “cut the throats of several men and children,” according to a La Stampa report.

Pope Francis, who visited the nation in 2015, denounced “violent homicides in the Central African Republic against the Christian community” on August 8.

Bishop Aguirre added that he has not been able to celebrate Mass in his cathedral in Bangassou for the past three weeks.

“The young Muslims do not want to listen to anybody and look for fighting: they sit in front of the cathedral, preventing anybody’s passing,” he said. “For three Sundays we have been unable to open the cathedral.”

The bishop, according to L’Osservatore Romano, also fears that 2,000 Muslims who live under his protection will now be targeted for reprisals.

Séléka overthrew the nation’s government in 2013 but lost its power a year later. The current central government has little authority outside the capital of Bangui.

A UN official warned of signs of genocide committed by Séléka and its opponents, the largely Christian and animist militants of the Anti-balaka movement. The nation’s bishops have denounced atrocities committed by both sides.

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