By BosNewsLife Africa Service
BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (BosNewsLife)-- Two Christian aid workers have been kidnapped in the capital of war-torn Central African Republic, adding to concerns over the situation of foreign missionaries, officials and local Christians said.
The pair, a 67-year-old French woman and a local churchman linked to Catholic medical charity CODIS, were abducted Monday, January 19, by four men carrying Kalashnikov rifles at a church entrance in the centre of Bangui,after returning from a town north of the capital, according to their driver and other sources.
The car’s driver, Elkana, said he had managed to flee while the two others were taken hostage. Their full names were not immediately released, apparently amid security concerns.
Christians said the aid workers were carrying medicine along with another member of the 'Congregation of the Holy Spirit', Elkana.
The gunmen, who appeared to be linked to the mainly religious 'Christian', or animist, militia anti-balaka,reportedly took them to the Boy Rab area, known as a stronghold of militias in Bangui. Their vehicle and goods were confiscated, Christians said.
The kidnappers demanded the release of one of their detained leaders, Rodrigue Ngaïbona, known as "General Andjilo," in exchange for the two hostages.
Ngaibona was detained on January 18 by United Nations peacekeeping forces on charges of crimes
including murder, rebellion, rape and looting, the country's senior prosecutor said earlier.
Central African Republic has plunged into chaos since the mainly Muslim Seleka seized power in the
majority Christian state in March 2013, ousting President Francois Bozize.
A backlash from the "anti-balaka" militia led to violence that has killed thousands and displaced around 1 million people, according to observers.