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Church elder hacked to death with other aid workers

by Tola Mbakwe

According to World Watch Monitor, 66-year-old Gabriel Ole was an elder at a Baptist church in Bangui, the capital.

Ole and five other workers, including two officials from the Ministry of Education, and three members of a local group that works with UNICEF were travelling to the north-western town of Markounda, near the Chad border, on 25th February, when their car was ambushed.

It's been reported that some of the victims were shot dead, while others had their throats slit. Their car was also torched.

UNICEF has strongly condemned the violent act.

The humanitarian charity said in a statement: "All of us at UNICEF are deeply saddened and shocked by the killing of our colleague, along with five other education workers.

"We strongly condemn this senseless act against aid workers who were there to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the families and the colleagues of the victims."

World Watch Monitor
Gabriel Ole

The group was travelling to start training for community teachers.

Over 7,000 people have sought refuge in Markounda over the past months, in order to shelter from violence.

UNICEF and partners have set up Temporary Learning Spaces for 2,000 crisis-affected children in Markounda. The training was organised for community teachers who were to start teaching in those Temporary learning spaces.

CAR's Prime Minister, Simplice Matthieu Sarandji, honoured the victims during a visit to Markounda on 6th March.

"School is the key to developing a country," he said. "Any attack against teachers is a crime against the education of our children."

The prime minister promised that the "cowardly criminal act" will not go unpunished.

It's been reported the attackers are members of an active rebel group in the region.,

The area has been overwhelmed by violence since December, after fighting started between rival armed groups for the control of natural resources. It' caused tens of thousands of people to be internally displaced.

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