Gunmen Storm Christian Church in the Central African Republic, Kills 15

Gunmen Storm Christian Church in the Central African Republic, Kills 15”

On Tuesday, at least 15 Christians - including one Catholic priest - were killed during a church service in Bangui, Central African Republic when several unidentified gunmen suddenly opened fire.

It is not clear if they were all killed in the church attack itself or during skirmishes that occurred afterwards in the surrounding area.

Bangui endured more intercommunal violence on Tuesday - also targeted at mosques and health facilities - just three weeks after United Nations soldiers aided Central African troops to disarm local militias in an incident still clouded by contradictions.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack, but victims say Muslims are likely behind the violence.

This is also not the first time the Notre Dame de Fatima church has been the target of an attack.

According to the publication, the clash of security forces and militias broke out around 11:30, and ended in the evening.

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Tensions within the PK5 district, a major economic hub, have been running high for months, stoked by resentment among traders over demands to pay protection money to so-called self-defence groups.

"Among the dead included a police officer, a priest and a child, another 96 people were injured", - said the Agency representative of the police.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has faced interreligious and intercommunal violence since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in Bangui. Thousands have since been killed or displaced in the ensuing violence.

A relatively quiet spell prevailed from late 2015 into 2016.

MINUSCA condemns today attacks against civilians and religious buildings and emphasize that such attacks are contrary to national and worldwide laws.

The incident came after hours-long clashes in PK5 on April 10 killed 28 people, including a United Nations peacekeeper, and left more than 100 wounded. The dead bodies of 17 civilians were laid in front of the United Nations peacekeeping offices shortly afterward. Local residents said those killed were simply unarmed civilians.

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