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Menendez Statement on Church Attack in Central African Republic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to reports of an attack on a church in Bangui.  Media reports indicate over a dozen people dead, including a priest, and at least 100 people wounded.

“The alarming outbreak of violence in the Central African Republic including the ruthless attack on a church during mass today is the latest instance of the deteriorating security situation that threatens the fragile progress made in the wake of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s election. While the details are still emerging, the United States mourn alongside the families who have lost their loved ones in Bangui.

“Any attack on a place of worship of any faith, or any other form of religious violence must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.  Those who engage in such actions should be brought to justice swiftly, through a transparent, legal mechanism, rather than through reprisal attacks carried out by vigilante groups.  I call upon the people of the Central African Republic to remain calm, refrain from taking justice into their own hands and to respect the rule of law and allow the authorities respond.  We must not see a return to the violence and bloodshed of 2013 and 2014.” 

Senator Menendez released a statement for the Senate record last week calling on the Trump Administration to devise a strategy to help bring a sustainable peace to the Central African Republic following attacks targeting civilians and humanitarian staff in recent months.