Rebels attack Catholic mission in CAR

Seleka rampages through Bocaranga

Three people have died in a Seleka rebel attack on a Catholic mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), according to latest reports emerging from the troubled nation.

The attack came on January 22 when members of the armed militia rampaged through the city of Bocaranga. According to one eyewitness, some 10 gunmen entered the Catholic mission where they were met by a priest who attempted to reason with the men. Despite this, the rebels opened fire, apparently on a man who was spotted attempting to escape. Subsequently, a second man and a woman were shot dead as priests, nuns and laypeople fled to surrounding forests to hide out, leaving the rebels to loot the mission. There have been no updates as to the wellbeing of the mission residents since, though it is believed that at least one religious brother was shot and injured.

Bocaranga is a northern city of the CAR, a region to which Seleka rebels began to flee as their leader, former interim President Michel Djotodia was ousted earlier this month. The city of 16,000 people is now reported to be virtually deserted following the Seleka attack.

The CAR continues to be dangerously unstable in the wake of Djotodia’s departure, and reports of mass killings continue to emerge as newly elected interim President Catherine Samba-Phanza works to restore order.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui and his Islamic counterpart, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, who have worked together towards creating peace between religious communities in the country, have travelled to Europe to tour a number of capital cities to appeal for increased international assistance for the Central African Republic.