Church shelled, seven Christians killed in Central African Republic

Central African Republic's new President Michel Djotodia speaks to his supporters at a rally in favour of the Seleka rebel coalition in downtown Bangui on March 30, 2013. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Alain). Amontchi)
Central African Republic’s new President Michel Djotodia speaks to his supporters at a rally in favour of the Séléka a rebel coalition in downtown Bangui on March 30, 2013. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Alain). Amontchi)

By World Watch Monitor

A weekend of violence in the Central African Republic included three artillery shells that crashed into a church and killed seven people, according to a pastor.

At least 20 people were reported dead after gun battles in sectors of Bangui, capital of the republic, where an alliance of rebel groups took power last month. Seven of the victims were attending services in the Evangelical Federation of Brothers church on Sunday.

Three shells launched by Séléka forces from Boy-Rabe hit the Evangelical Federation of Brothers. Most of the churches located in Boy-Rabe and Cité Jean 23, the two most affected areas, were closed Sunday and many residents have fled to more secure areas of the capital.

There is no official confirmation whether the church was targeted or simply caught in the crossfire, but since the Séléka coalition formed in December, elements have attacked Christians, as well as their homes and churches.

The recent incidents come a day after the rebel leader, Michel Djotodia, was elected interim president of Central African Republic by the National Transitional Council, the acting parliament.

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