A Roman Catholic priest in the war-torn Central African Republic was shot dead last week while eating dinner, according to a charity. He is the third priest to be killed by suspected rebel soldiers this year.
Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need reported Father Firmin Gbagoua, the vicar general of Bambari Diocese, was killed on Friday at close range by militia calling themselves the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic, or UPC.
The Central African Bishops’ Conference said that there is “great bitterness” over the latest clergy killing.
“We strongly call on the government and MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic) to coordinate their efforts so that those responsible for these murders will be arrested and brought to justice,” the bishops said in a statement.
“Who does all this violence against the Catholic Church of Central Africa benefit?” they asked.
UPC is one of the breakaway groups of the Islamic Séléka forces, that has been fighting anti-balaka militias and the central army for control in the country.
Christians have been caught in the crossfire or specifically targeted on a number of occasions. In May, 15 Christians in the Notre Dame de Fatima church in Bangui, including another priest, were slaughtered by gunmen who opened fire inside the church.
La Croix International reported that a crisis meeting involving the Human Rights Commission and humanitarian actors was held on Wednesday to discuss the escalating crisis in the country.
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Source: Christian Post