Militants linked to the anti-Balaka kidnapped a Christian politician in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital of Bangui. Armel Ningatoloum Sayo, Minister for Youth and Sports, was returning home from a church service at the Eglise Evangelique des Freres with his wife and brother when the kidnapping took place.
Unidentified gunmen traveling in a taxi forced the minister’s car to stop in the Galagbadja neighborhood before they fired shots into the air and pulled him out of the car. His wife, Nicaise Sayo, was with her husband when he was abducted. She told media, “They instructed us to stop. They pulled him from his vehicle to put him in their car to head to Boy-Rabe (an area considered and anti-Balaka stronghold).”
Minister Sayo’s kidnapping follows the brief abduction earlier of a U.N. staff member and a French charity worker. Tatiana Yangeko, Minister Sayo’s spokeswoman, confirmed the kidnapping and said the captors contact had contacted the family and in exchange for the minister’s freedom demanded the release of the anti-Balaka militia commander Rodrigue Nagibona, also known as General Andjilo whom UN troops arrested earlier in January.
Minister Sayo and his wife are both student pastors at the FATEB (Faculté de Theologie Evangelique de Bangui). The church has condemned the kidnapping. Please join the local church in praying for the safe and speedy release of Minister Sayo.
Central African Republic is ranked No. 17 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Janelle Powers. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.