GAMBOULA, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (March 26, 2013) – Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries Roy and Aleta Danforth as well Josh and Lori Shinar and their families are safe in Yaounde, Cameroon, after fleeing Gamboula on Sunday due to intense fighting between government and rebel forces in parts of the country.
Rebels seized the presidential palace in Bangui on Saturday. Looting and gunfire have been reported across much of the city, according to multiple news sources.
“The situation is rather precarious . . . most residents are in their homes . . . everything has pretty much been looted,” said Amy Martin, the Bangui bureau chief for the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs.
On Monday, the office of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning the seizure and expressing his concern about reports of human rights abuses. Those “responsible for committing such violations will be held accountable,” he said.
The rebels resumed hostilities last week and vowed to topple Bozize, whom they accuse of breaking a January peace agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.
Covenant ministry in CAR has focused primarily on community health, agricultural education, and developing evangelism tools. Roy Danforth explains some of his work with Covenant World Relief in a video on CovChurch.tv.
Covenant missionaries began to serve in the former French colony in 1998. This was done in partnership with other sending organizations in CAR. Since then, more than 100 villages have been reached through the emphasis of agro-forestry and biblical principles.