Muslim rebels brutally stabbed to death a Christian pastor in the Central African Republic (CAR), then proceeded to burn his church to the ground.
In what is being reported as a revenge attack for military operations against the Islamist militia, jihadists attacked Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui of the Church of Christ in the capital city of Bangui on Feb. 7, stabbing him to death and then torching his church as well as two other Christian churches in the area.
CAR military together with UN peacekeepers recently attempted to capture local Muslim militia leader Youssouf Sy, but the operation failed and Sy and one of his men were killed in the incident.
During the operation, Sy and his men opened fire on the security forces and killed two passers-by, a man and a woman, at which point the military returned fire and killed Sy and another militiaman.
According to World Watch Monitor, Sy’s supporters went on a “rampage” in retaliation for the operation, attacking people and destroying property.
“The incident took place following a military operation. Then militiamen started shooting. They burnt down our houses,” one internally displaced person (IDP) told local media, on condition of anonymity.
Sy’s allies surrounded Rev. Sankagui’s church, then killed the pastor and burned the church building.
After the initial attack, the Muslim militia set fire to two other churches in the area, the Apostolic and St Mathias Church, and also destroyed a local school. Militiamen also reportedly stormed a health facility with the intention of killing off the wounded.
According to Dr. Michel Yao, acting U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the country, more than two dozen wounded were brought in for treatment.
“Armed elements forcefully entered into the facility with the intention to kill some of the injured,” he said.
According to UN reports, the attacks brought about the combined deaths of at least five people with 26 more injured.
The poverty-stricken Central African Republic erupted in civil war in 2013 after Muslim rebels from the Seleka militia overthrew former president Francois Bozize, a Christian.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome