Bangui — A car of the Catholic Mission of Niem exploded on a mine this morning, May 5, 2021. “We are waiting to know the exact details of the sad episode”, His Exc. Mgr Mirosław Gucwa, Bishop of the diocese of Bouar, to whom the mission of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Betharram refers. “I can confirm the incident, it seems that there was at least one victim, but contacting that area by telephone is difficult, because it is very isolated”, said Mgr. Gucwa.
According to local sources, the rebels of the Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement (CPC) have long been placing mines and improvised devices along the road between Niem and Kolo, where the missionaries’ car exploded. The CPC is a rebel coalition that emerged on December 17, 2020 from the merger of 6 armed groups, 4 from the Seleka (the previous rebel coalition that overthrew former President François Bozizé in 2013) and 2 from the anti-balaka, a generic name that designates a series of self-defense militias initially created to fight the Seleka. While waiting to be able to add further details, the new Director of Agenzia Fides, Friar Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen, expresses “his closeness to the Church in Central Africa and in particular to the missionaries involved in this sad episode”.