2 May 2018 - An unreal and sad calm surrounds Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, after yesterday’s massacre, 1 May, where at least 16 people died, including a Catholic priest, Don Albert Toungoumale-Baba, killed in Notre Dame de Fatima church, not far from the PK5 district, inhabited mostly by Muslims. According to local Church sources contacted by Agenzia Fides "at the moment the situation is calm in Bangui, there are no reported shootings. We are awaiting a declaration by His Eminence Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, who has just returned from Europe".
The incidents broke out when the security forces stopped a vehicle carrying Moussa Empereur, a member of a self-defense militia of the PK5. In trying to escape the arrest, he was wounded by the military. His men then attacked the security forces and unleashed the violence against civilians.
An armed group attacked the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima, while don Albert Toungoumale-Baba and some faithful were celebrating Mass on the occasion of the anniversary of St. Joseph. "The priest who was killed was not the parish priest of Notre Dame of Fatima, but a Central African priest (one of the oldest of the diocese of Bangui), who was there for the celebration as chaplain of the Fraternité Saint Joseph movement", say Fides sources. The Notre Dame de Fatima Church suffered a bloody assault on 28 May 2014, during which 18 faithful were killed (see Fides 30/5/2014).
According to a testimony from the local press, "an angry mob decided to transport the body of the priest killed to the Presidency. The procession passed through Lakouanga neighborhood, where a mosque was destroyed and two men were burned alive. The procession reached the center of the city before being dispersed near the Presidency".
Doctors Without Borders said that an angry mob had gathered in front of the NGO hospital in the Sica district, threatening to destroy the hospital and hindering the access of ambulances.
The UN Mission in Central Africa (MINUSCA) and the President of the Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, have invited the population to keep calm. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/5/2018)