Leading evangelical pastor's son and grandson hit in renewed violence in Central African Republic

FacebookNicolas Guérékoyamé-Gbangou, on the left

The son and grandson of a senior evangelical pastor have both become victims in the latest outbreak of violence in the Central African Republic.

Rev Nicolas Guérékoyamé-Gbangou, president of the Evangelical Alliance in the republic and vice-president of the Council of Elders, an organisation set up to mediate peace, earlier lost his daughter, World Watch Monitor reports.

She died from a stress-related heart condition, which came on after the violence erupted in a feared renewal of a long-running civil war.

Guérékoyamé-Gbangou has received international recognition for his attempts to help bring peace to his country. In 2015, he was awarded the Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize alongside imam Oumar Kobine Layama and Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga.

He has been working most recently to mediate between factions in Bangassou, where the local Muslim population has been under attack by vigilantes who have been deploying drugged child soldiers against civilians. He has helped hundreds of people who sought refuge in a mosque to be able to leave at last. The vigilantes are believed mainly to be believers from the indiginous 'animist' religion. 

A local source told World Watch Monitor: 'In Alindao the corpses still litter the streets. The houses are looted and burned. The population is fleeing to the Catholic Church or the United Nations site. Among the victims were the youngest son of Pastor Nicolas and his son. The government is powerless in the face of these attacks.'

It is not clear yet whether the pastor's son and grandson are missing, injured or dead. 

Human Rights Watch reports that at least 11,000 people have been displaced by the violence in the past few months. Six United Nations peacekeepers have also been killed.