World Watch Monitor

As more details emerge, it has been confirmed that it was Rev Nicolas Guérékoyamé-Gbangou’s youngest brother and nephew, not his son and grandson, who were killed in the latest eruption of violence in the Central African Republic.

A local church leader told World Watch Monitor they may have been targeted because of Rev Guérékoyamé-Gbangou’s position as head of the country’s Evangelical Alliance.

An aid worker added: “Two or three ex-Séléka rebels – who have been in the town of Alindao for years and who knew Nicolas’ youngest brother very well – came to his home, and when his older son came out to meet them, one of them stabbed him twice. When Nicolas’ brother heard his son’s scream, he rushed out to see what was happening. That was when the other man shot him four times.”

Rev Guérékoyamé-Gbangou has not yet commented on the incident, but has promised to do so once the period of mourning is over.

Thirty-seven people are believed to have been killed in all in Alindao, which is 500 kilometres east of the capital, Bangui, and more than 100 injured. And while some, including the reverend’s brother and nephew, have been buried, many others have yet to be identified.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that around 10 churches were destroyed or looted in the surrounding villages as the rebels retreated. As many as 3,000 people are also reported to be sheltering inside a Catholic church compound and UN facility.

Meanwhile, in the city of Bangassou, 230 kilometres east of Alindao, the Red Cross now estimates that more than 150 were killed over the weekend – a huge increase on the initial UN estimate of 26.