Pastor killed in violent church attack in Central African Republic

A violent church attack in Bangui, Central African Republic last week has left the house of worship in ruins, the pastor and at least two other people dead, and dozens injured, according to the United Nations.

(REUTERS / Emmanuel Braun)Women walk past a statue sprayed with a graffiti that reads 'No to France' in the PK5 neighborhood in Bangui, Central African Republic April 30, 2014.

On Feb. 7, supporters of CAR militia leader Youssouf Sy killed Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui of the Eglise du Christ en Centrafrique at his home after the CAR army and UN troops launched a military operation in the area. The violent attack was an apparent retaliation for the death of Sy, who was supposed to be just interrogated at the time, ECC president Jean Noel Ndanguere told World Watch Monitor.

Aside from killing Pastor Sankagui, Sy's supporters also sought revenge by destroying property and attacking people. Aside from ECC, the Apostolic and St. Mathias Church were also torched down by the assailants.

In 2013, internally displaced people sought refuge at the Bangui M'Poko Airport refugee camp when violent attacks first flared up in the area. They started returning to their abandoned homes in December in 2016 but have once again been forced to go back to the camp because of the fresh spate of attacks.

"The incident took place following a military operation. Then militiamen started shooting. They burnt down our houses," an IDP told local media. "These armed men must be disarmed."

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, nine Christians were hacked to death in July last year by suspected Islamic rebels in the eastern part of the country. Local army spokesperson Mak Hazukay said members of the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces attacked civilians in their homes near the village Oicha, killing nine Christians including five women, Bos News Life reports.

Persecution monitoring group World Watch Monitor said the people that the ADF rebels attacked and killed were Christian. From October 2014 to May 2016, non-governmental organizations recorded 1,116 deaths in violent attacks. There were also 1,470 people kidnapped and more than 34,000 families displaced by the violence in the volatile eastern DRC.