FIDES, the Information Service of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has published an interview with the SMA Bishop of Bossangoa, Central African Republic following his release by rebels after he, along with three of his priests, were taken prisoners.
In the interview Bishop Nestor Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia SMA, of Bossangoa diocese, said his kidnapping was a terrible act which happened when he was travelling with three of his clergy in the eastern part of the diocese. They were taken by a group of the Seleka rebels.
“On Wednesday, April 16, I was accompanying three priests of my diocese by car to their parish (the parish of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Bantangafo) when around 5pm we were intercepted by Seleka rebels under the command of a colonel who was in charge in Bossangoa when the rebels occupied the city.
“I was taken to this colonel”, said Bishop Nestor, “who accused me for ruining his plan to regain Bossangoa, of having published defamatory statements against him on the Internet, of having gathered information in Bantangafo that I would have had to pass on to the international forces present in Central Africa, the Sangaris (French) and the MISCA (African)”.
The Bishop adds that “the rebels took my pectoral cross and episcopal ring. Then my three priests and I were brought to Sidot to be killed. Near Kabo (in the far north of the CAR, near the Chad border) our convoy was stopped thanks to the intervention of the international community and especially of the Seleka commander of this area, a general, who did not agree with the order of execution.”
“All this happened on Holy Thursday, on Good Friday we were brought back to Bantangafo where the commander of MISCA came to pick us up by helicopter in order to take us back home”.
In the diocese of Bossangoa on April 18, Good Friday, Fr Christ Forman Wilibona was shot dead. “Fr Wilibona was a priest of the diocese who was returning from the Chrism Mass (which for logistical reasons was celebrated on Good Friday instead of Thursday),” Bishop Nestor also reported.
“All the north of my diocese is occupied by the rebels of the Seleka coalition, who are unlawful despite of the presence of international forces. I ask myself: why is their presence needed in Central Africa?” concluded the bishop.