Central African Republic: Muslims join Seleka rebels in anti-Christian killing spree

religion | Aug 22, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

More violence and looting against the Catholic Church in the Central African Republic has been reported by the Fides news service. On Sunday, August 18, missionary priests and nuns of the Sœurs de la Charité at Bohong were forced to take refuge in Bouar some 60 miles away after an attack by the Seleka rebel coalition.
 
Some young local hunters, tired of the constant harassment of the rebels who seized power by ousting former President François Bozizé, killed four members of the Seleka rebel coalition on August 16, Among the dead was a Seleka colonel. According to Fides, "The straw that broke the camel’s back was the arrest, for no reason, of a young man who repaired bicycles and that of a seller of tobacco". Shortly afterwards, Seleka units - reinforced by combatants from nearby - invaded Bohong. During the street fighting, a group of Seleka rebels, bolstered by local Muslims of Bohong, ransacked a Catholic priest's residence and also looted a nun's house. 
 
"It is difficult to know the number of deaths and injuries both among the population and members of Seleka" added Fides' sources.
 
On August 18, a convoy sent by the Catholic Diocese of Bouar managed to rescue the priests and nuns. "We found out that the next day when the priests and nuns left, Seleka men returned to ransack the parish house and convent, burning the modest thatched houses used for catechism. They also desecrated the church and ransacked the sacristy, and stole a vehicle belonging to the parish. Reprisals are likely to last for a long time", concluded Fides' sources. 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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