Since the end of 2012, the Central African Republic has been sinking into a maelstrom of violence as a result of the civil war. Thousands have already fallen victim to the war and almost one million are internally displaced or seek protection in neighbouring countries. But priests and sisters are resolutely holding the line, providing pastoral care to the people and working tirelessly for the reconstruction of the country.
ACN mainly supports the Church with emergency aid and the formation of priests. The fighting between SELEKA rebel militias and the anti-Balaka group mainly affects the civilian population. Thousands have seen their belongings go up in flames and many have witnessed their relatives being murdered. Neither the government nor the UN peacekeepers have been able to achieve lasting peace. Nor has the Church been spared extreme acts of violence. Church institutions are repeatedly attacked and plundered. But the Catholic Church is on the front line to protect the population from the violent attacks. Thousands of displaced persons of various faiths have found refuge in monasteries and mission stations. Priests and religious often risk their own lives: In 2018 alone, five priests were murdered. ACN supports the Central African Republic with emergency relief and funds for the formation of priests, as future priests are indispensable to the peace and well-being of their country. In 2018, for example, we supported 48 seminarians and their teachers in Bangui with a budget of 60,000 euros.
Deadly attack during Holy Mass
During an armed attack in the parish church of Our Lady of Fatima in Bangui on 1 May 2018, 20 worshippers were killed and 100 others injured during Holy Mass. Father Albert Toungoumale-Baba was among the victims. The 71-year-old priest was a friend of ACN and had asked us to pray tirelessly for peace in his country in a video message. We mourn his loss and are deeply concerned with the increasing violence in the Republic.
» Despite great danger, none of the priests has left his mission. «
The Massacre of Alindao
On 15 November 2018, thousands of refugees were attacked by armed Seleka rebels in the refugee camp on the grounds of Alindao Cathedral in the south of the Central African Republic. The rebels killed more than 80 people, including two priests. In addition, the cathedral was looted and burned down by the rebels. ACN immediately provided 30,000 euros in emergency aid for the most urgent primary care.