More than 35,000 people are living on the 40-acre diocesan compound in Bossangoa, Central African Republic, seeking protection from rebels who are targeting Christians, according to the local bishop. Bishop Nestor-Désiré Nongo Aziagbia of Bossangoa said people began arriving in September to escape attacks by rebels of the Seleka alliance. Most of the people in the diocesan compound are women and children, the bishop said. The bishop reported that women have been risking rape and attacks to go out to their farms to harvest food. The bishop spoke on conditions at the compound on Nov. 19, after testifying in Washington about his situation before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. The previous night rebels had surrounded the diocesan compound and threatened those inside with a rocket attack. In his testimony, Bishop Nongo said Seleka was pitting the country’s Christian and Muslim citizens against each other.
Thousands Seek Church Protection