Caritas Central African Republic Director Fr Elysée Guedjande is recovering in hospital after being shot Friday 19 July in Bangui.
Two unidentified men attacked Fr Guedjande as he was parking his car, asking for the keys to the vehicle. As the priest tried to escape, he was hit in the leg by a bullet. The assailants fled, and Fr Guedjande was driven to hospital and is having surgery on the wound.
The Central African Republic has faced constant insecurity before, during and after the 24 March coup by the Seleka rebel coalition. The crisis has affected the country’s entire population of 4.6 million and has left tens of thousands in need of emergency shelter, healthcare and food aid.
Caritas Central African Republic has been providing food, medical help and shelter to those forced from their homes, with the support of the Caritas Internationalis confederation.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “Caritas is deeply concerned about the attack on Fr Elysée Guedjande. He was carrying out vital humanitarian work for the poorest and most vulnerable. It is essential that aid workers be allowed to continue their life saving operations in security. It is essential that better protection be established in CAR.
“At times it seems CAR has been abandoned by the world. Fr Guedjande and other Church workers have stayed with the people offering them a light of hope to show that they are not alone. Our prayers are with them all as they continue their endeavors.”
The Catholic Church has repeatedly called for a return to law and order in Central African Republic.
This month, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) said in statement, “We urge the new authorities of the Central African Republic to assume their responsibility to ensure the safety and protection to the entire population without any excuse and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.”
Caritas Internationalis has launched an international appeal for over €700,000 to support its work for peace and reconciliation, help people meet their immediate needs and re-establish their livelihoods as well as offer basic health services in nine dioceses.
For further information please contact Patrick Nicholson on +39 06 6987 9725.