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In many parts of Central African Republic only priests and religious remain


These are some of a few photos from the attack on the cathedral and the adjacent refugee camp in Alindao, Central African Republic. The victims were mostly Christians, including the Vicar General of the diocese, Blaise Mada and Fr. Celestine. 

MARTA PETROSILLO
Spokesperson, Aid to the Church in Need (Italy)

"In this attack, the victim is the Church. The situation in the country is very delicate and, in many cases, the religious component is mixed with other factors. In this case, the attack may be a reaction to the murder of a Muslim perpetrated by Antibalaka, a militia falsely defined as Christian that emerged to respond to the violence by Seleka Islamists."

At the moment, the number of victims is unknown and could range from between 40 and 100 people. There is a grave situation in the Central African Republic and, as is often the case in many horrific scenarios, the Church has always remained at the side of the weakest. 

MARTA PETROSILLO
Spokesperson, Aid to the Church in Need (Italy)

"Since the beginning of this seemingly never-ending crisis in 2012, it is only priests and religious in many areas who remain to help the population, both Christian and Muslim."

The refugees were attacked by the militias of l'Unité pour la Paix in Centrafrique, an armed rebel group formed by former Seleka. They acted without anyone stopping them, not even the UN forces deployed in the country that have orders to intervene alone. if they are attacked directly.

MARTA PETROSILLO
Spokesperson, Aid to the Church in Need (Italy) (Italy)

"What members of the local Church say is really important. They assert that MINUSCA, the UN Peacebuilding office was there but did not intervene."

Pope Francis has the Central African Republic in his heart. He visited it in 2015, against many recommendations that he cancel the trip due to high risks. Therefore, during the Angelus prayer, he lamented this terrible attack.

POPE FRANCIS
"I was saddened to hear of the massacre, two days ago, in a refugee camp in the Central African Republic."

For years, this African country, one of the poorest in the world, has been the subject to a bloody civil war between two militias. Seleka, which has an Islamist nature; and Antibalaka, formed by Christians and mercenaries of other ethnic groups and religions, whose main victim is the defenseless population.