Christian pastor dies in CAR violence

Baptist pastor and has son are among the latest victims

A Baptist pastor and has son are among the latest victims of Seleka violence in the Central African Republic.

As French peacekeepers gained a UN mandate on January 28 to use lethal force in their ongoing efforts to quell inter-communal violence, Pastor Kongbo and his son were murdered as fresh fighting broke out in the capital Bangui that day. The clashes appear to have been sparked by the forced moving of Seleka members out of army barracks and into camps in others areas of Bangui, leading to fears among Christians, and the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group, that the still armed rebels would seek to retaliate for the action against them.

According to observers, Central African Republic remains at great risk of genocide as the new administration of President Catherine Samba-Phanza attempts to pull citizens back from all out conflict. Just days before the murder of Pastor Kongbo, a former minister in the government of ousted President Michel Djotodia, the Muslim Joseph Kalite, was set upon and hacked to death.

Speaking to the BBC from the country last weekend, Peter Bouckaert, director of emergencies for Human Rights Watch, reported multiple cases of lynchings and immolations, describing the reality now in the Central African Republic as “an orgy of bloodshed”.