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ICC Note: The Central African Republic is becoming a more dangerous place for Christians. Reports state armed groups have been targeting pastoral workers and priests and are preventing them from fulfilling their ongoing religious duties.

07/02/2018 Central African Republic (International La Croix) – Anti-Balaka militia in Gbaguili, a village located 340 kilometers from Bangui. (Photo by Photo Bagassi Koura, VOA French /Wikipedia/PD)

Armed rebels have assassinated the vicar general of the Diocese of Bambari in the Central African Republic amid fears of a flare up of violence.

In an attack that took place six weeks ago, rebels looted Father Félicien’s parish church in Bambari Diocese. With his life in danger, the priest fled to the national capital of Bangui to “breathe again.”

He had planned to return to Bambari over the weekend when news broke that the vicar general of the diocese, Father Firmin Gbagoua, had been killed by rebels on the night of June 29.

Ten days earlier, fighting broke out in Kaga-Bandoro, north of Bangui, between armed groups of the former Muslim majority Séléka rebel forces and the mostly animist and Christian self-styled anti-Balaka “self-defense” groups.

“It happened at dinner time,” said Father Félicien. “Séléka rebels broke into the bishop’s residence and compound.”

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