A Christian pastor has been killed and two churches destroyed in brutal revenge attacks by Muslim rebels in the Central African Republic.
Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui of the Eglise du Christ en Centrafrique was attacked and stabbed to death by supporters of Muslim rebel militia in the CAR's capital Bangui, World Watch Monitor reports.
The attack came after a military operation was launched by CAR military and UN peacekeepers to capture and interrogate local militia leader Youssouf Sy, whose name has also been reported as Youssouf Malinga. The operation failed and he and one of his officers were killed in the incident.
'During the operation, Sy – also known as Big Man – and his men opened fire on the security forces and killed two passers-by, a man and a woman,' a UN spokesman said, according to CBN News.
'The security forces responded, killing Youssouf and one of his men. Three Central African security forces troops were also injured,' he added.
In retaliation Sy's allies surrounded Sankagui's church. An eyewitness said that Sankagui had urged those present at the church to flee the church to escape the violence.
Sankagui was then attacked and stabbed to death, a family member said. His church was set on fire and destroyed.
Two other churches in the area were set on fire, and a local school was destroyed. The UN reported that at least three people were killed and 26 injured in the violence.
UN spokesman Vladimir Monteiro lamented the violence, saying: 'It is unfortunate that the civilian population were the victims of these criminals' indiscriminate fire.'