Killings of Catholic priests in Africa raise fears that peacemakers are targets

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — Following the recent killings of priests in the Central African Republic, Catholic officials worry that clergy are being targeted by armed groups for their peacemaking efforts.

On June 29, Firmin Gbagoua, vicar general of the Bambari Diocese, which covers much of the Central African Republic, was killed by a suspected Muslim rebel group. Gbagoua, who served as the regional director of Caritas, an international Catholic relief group, was the sixth Catholic priest to be killed in the conflict that has pitted pro-Christian militias, known as anti-Balaka, against Muslim rebels, known as ex-Seleka.

Gbagoua’s death comes a month after Abbot Albert Tougoumale-Baba was shot dead in an attack in a cathedral in the capital of Bangui in May. The Rev. Joseph Désiré Angbabata was killed in a similar attack in the Bambari Diocese in March.

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