More Than 40 People Reportedly Dead in Attack on Sacred Heart Cathedral in Central African Republic

MINUSCA peacekeeprs patrol Bangui, Central African Republic, Oct. 22, 2017. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

An attack on a Cathedral in the Central African Republic has left at least 40 people dead.

More than 40 people are believed killed in the attack on the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Alindao town, Central African Republic (CAR), 200 miles east of the capital Bangui.

On November 15, the Cathedral and its surrounding properties, a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the Bishop’s residence came under attack by armed assailants, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The IDP camp, which had capacity for 20,000 people, was razed to the ground. Some reports indicate that those who were killed in the camp were unable to escape from temporary structures that were set on fire. The Cathedral and its surrounding buildings were looted and residential properties nearby were also looted and burned.

Father Blaise Mada, the vicar of the diocese of Alindao, was killed in the attack and one priest remains missing. Fr Mathieu Bondobo, General Vicar of the Archdiocese of Bangui told Vatican News that the Bishop of Alindao had been receiving threats from armed groups in the area.

The attack was reportedly carried out by the armed group Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) led by Ali Darassa, a former Seleka general, in retaliation for the killing of a Muslim man by the anti-Balaka in Alindao.

Throughout the CAR’s recent crisis the Catholic Church has opened its doors to all, regardless of their ethnicity or religion. As a result of this attack, thousands of IDPs have been displaced again and forced to hide in the bush or seek refuge in other IDP camps in the town.

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SOURCE: Assist News, Michael Ireland