15 Christians Slaughtered by Gunfire, Grenades During Church Service in CAR

by Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Contributor |

(PHOTO: REUTERS/GORAN TOMASEVIC)People walk along a main street in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui where at least 30 people were killed in an attack by Muslim extremists on a Christian church at a refugee camp on May 28, 2014.

Armed gunmen killed at least 15 Christians, including one priest, during a church service in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Tuesday.

Christians in the Notre Dame de Fatima church were attacked, according to Reuters, and while some managed to escape through a hole in the building wall made by police, others were trapped.

"Filled with panic, some Christians began to flee until bullets and grenades began to fall in the parish grounds, trapping those who remained in the compound," revealed Moses Aliou, one of the priests.

Walter Brad Mazangue, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Bangui, identified the slain priest as Albert Toungoumale Baba.

The killing sparked outrage in the city, with thousands of angry protesters gathering Baba's body and carrying it on a stretcher to the presidential palace.

The gunmen have not yet been identified, reported BBC News, which noted that the attack followed violent exchanges between CAR's army and the Muslim PK5 neighborhood.

CAR is in the midst of a civil war, with Muslims from an umbrella group called Seleka fighting against the central army, and another faction called anti-balaka militias rising up to challenge the Seleka.

Notre-Dame de Fatima church has suffered a number of tragedies in recent years. In May 2014, over a dozen people were killed, including one priest.

The U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator for Central African Republic, Najat Rochdi, said that mosques and other places of worship have suffered violence as well.

"Once again it is the civilian population, especially women and children, who pay the price of violence," Rochdi said, according to The Associated Press.

Churches have been some of the few places of refuge for people, with a Roman Catholic Church compound in Bangassou sheltering over 1,000 Muslims from anti-balaka militias seeking to kill them in March.

Read more about Central African Republic Christians in The Christian Post.