Catholic leadership in the Central African Republic have been decrying the upsurge in violence between warring factions in the country. One such priest, Father Alain Blaise Bissialo of the Christ-King Parish of Tokoyo, was stabbed in an attack on January 4 by unknown assailants. It is believed by many that this attack was due to his outspoken desire for peace between Christians and Muslims in the country. He has also called on the UN peacekeeping forces to do a better job at stopping attacks on towns and villages. This is one of many attacks on Christian leaders and places of worship in the past year.
01/18/2018 CAR (World Watch Monitor) Catholic bishops in the Central African Republic have condemned a recent upsurge of violence in the country and called on armed groups to lay down their weapons.
Fighting between rival armed groups erupted in the north-western town of Paoua and its surroundings at the end of December, while in the eastern town of Bangassou, a prominent Catholic priest survived an assassination attempt.
Two ex-Seleka rebel groups – the RJ (Revolution Justice) and the MPC (le Mouvement Patriotique Centrafricain) – are fighting for control of the region’s lucrative natural resources.
The violence broke out on 27 December and tension is still high, with fresh clashes reported on Sunday (14 January).
The violence has claimed more than 100 lives, according to local MPs, and has resulted in a humanitarian crisis.
Some 60,000 people have been displaced, while 15,000 others have fled to neighbouring Chad, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in CAR.
“The painful events which occurred in recent days in some of our prefectures … make us think that our country continues to sink into the abyss,” noted the bishops in a statement issued by the Episcopal conference on Sunday, titled ‘Hope and despair for our country’.