Muslim rebel group Seleka attacked a cathedral in Bambari, Central African Republic, killing at least 20 people; 25 more sustained injuries. Between 4,000 and 6,000 Christians had been living in St. Joseph’s Cathedral at the time.
Seleka members allegedly believed that there were Christian militia members (called anti-balaka or anti-machete) inside the church. The Seleka and anti-balaka have a history of violence; most recently, anti-balaka members attacked a Muslim community, killing a Muslim citizen. Seleka spokesman Ahmat Negad said Tuesday’s attack was in retaliation.
French foreign minister Le Drain said, “To avoid clashes between groups that seek only hatred and vengeance, these groups must accept a peace process, accept a ceasefire.”
reports the Seleka overthrew the government in March 2013, and regained power in January 2014. The rebel group’s headquarters are located in Bambari.
Publication date: July 9, 2014