Armed ViolenceNews

Rebels Burn Down 7 Church Vehicles In Central African Republic

UPC rebels waylaid a convoy of church vehicles and burned seven of them.

Nicolas Gueroyame Gbangou, a reverend pastor of ELIM church in the Central African Republic has expressed anger over the burning of seven vehicles, six of which belonged to his church, by rebels of the Unite pour la Paix in Centrafrique (UPC).

Speaking to the press in the capital Bangui on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Pastor Gbangou revealed that the convoy of seven vehicles led by himself was ambushed on Saturday, June 5, 2021, 25 kilometres to Alindao, by armed gang later identified as combatants of the UPC rebel movement who dispossessed them of all their belongings before setting the vehicles ablaze.

He thanked God for saving their lives and revealed that there were over 300 members of the ELIM church, which is the largest Christian community in the country, in the convoy but none was harmed by the attackers. 

The members, he went on, were drawn from churches in Bambari, Bria Bouar, and Berberati.

Gbangou called on political actors, the civil society and those in charge of security in the country to “mobilize and show proof of their political willingness to search for a global and sustainable solution to the crisis in the Central African Republic which has lasted long enough.”

He called on the security forces to “concentrate on the defense of the national territory and above all, the protection of lives. 

“They must work within the spirit of their oath of office and apply the ethic by adopting to a change in their paradigm of comportment which would distance them from the intrigues they inflict on road users through racketeering which weakens the confidence between the population, their army, gendarmerie and police.”

The pastor said the administrative authorities must on their part “respect the dispositions of the constitution which guarantees the freedom of citizens wherever they are.”

“They must also search for sustainable solutions to ensure the definitive return to peace throughout the national territory of the Central African Republic through constructive dialogue with the sons and daughters of the country,” he said.

To church leaders, Gbangou said they had the responsibility of uniting one another no matter their doctrinal divergences adding that “they must have a net separation between political power and religion.”

“Religious confessions are called upon to practise peace and consequently they must remain an instrument and platform for peace and reject all forms of instrumentalization for unexplained reasons that could compromise the stability of the country.”

He called on the armed groups to stop making the civilian populations innocent victims of their violence and to have human hearts because “everybody would eventually have to render an account to God one day, of all his/her actions on earth.”

“They must understand that by setting in motion this cycle of crises and sufferings, tables may one day turn and the victims of today may become the executioners of tomorrow.”

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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