Unidentified armed men attacked a church in Bangui, Central African Republic. At least 15 Christians were killed in this attack. The attack unfolded on May 1, Tuesday when congregants had gathered in the church for a prayer service.
Details emerged that the Notre Dame de Fatima church came under attack during a prayer service. Some of the Christians managed to escape while others were trapped as the attackers hurled grenades inside the church and opened indiscriminate fire. One of the priests Moses Aliou said: “Filled with panic, some Christians began to flee until bullets and grenades began to fall in the parish grounds, trapping those who remained in the compound”.
Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Bangui, Walter Brad Mazangue, said that one of the 15 killed included a priest who has been identified as Albert Toungoumale Baba. Followed by the killings, thousands of agitated protesters took Albert Toungoumale Baba’s dead body to the presidential palace. The incident sparked outrage in the city.
Central African Republic (CAR) is a country with a Christian majority, Muslims are present as a major minority. In 2013, a civil war broke out in the country. Christian persecution watchdog, Open Doors reports that this conflict has been a source of Christian persecution in CAR. Christians face attacks mainly from the Séléka militants and also from the anti-Balaka. These militants commonly target churches and pastors. Moreover, Christians how have converted from Muslim background also face persecution from their families and communities.
Open Doors reports that Christians face a high level of persecution. Militants burn or ransack churches, therefore gathering for a church service has become dangerous. Church leaders often come under violent attacks. These atrocities have forced thousands of Christians to flee and are living as refuges. Moreover, the Christian converts face attacks in order to force them to renounce Christianity.