ACN is funding two aid projects for the local Catholic community as they return to a scene of utter devastation

The number of people who have died as a result of the terrorist attacks of 15 November last year on the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the diocese of Alindao and on the refugee camp right next to it, continues to grow, and has now reached over 80, according to information given to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International). What is the reason behind this sudden upsurge in violence against Christians in the south of the Central African Republic? In the report below the local Church analyses the situation and explains the consequences of these terrible events.

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"The people, who almost all fled into the forest, are now returning, hoping to be able to find a few grains of rice that they can eat and foraging among the ashes for any beans that have been only partially burnt", says Bishop Cyr-Nestor Yapaupa of Alindao, describing the dramatic scenes in his town. The number of those who have died since the attack has now increased to over 80, including two priests and two Protestant pastors, according to hospital sources.

Marco Mencaglia, head of the Latin America section of Aid to the Church in Need, visited Nicaragua in November. The objective of his trip was to learn more about conditions in the country first-hand and to assess how the pontifical foundation has worked with the local church up until this point and how they can continue to work together.

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Last year, Nicaragua experienced a series of intensive and violent clashes between the government and opposition groups that lasted for about three months from 18 April to mid-July. During this period, the clashes claimed hundreds of lives – most of them young protesters. However, the exact number of victims is disputed: the government has estimated 150 dead, other sources say the figure is over 500.

Image: Mgr Jorge Solórzano Pérez, Bishop of Granada, distributing meals for the poor of the city - the bishop blesses a young girl during food distribution. Nicaragua, November 2018.

The Catholic Church played a decisive role in ensuring that the clashes between the armed government forces and the protesters – most of them students – did not cause even more casualties, both dead and wounded.

A Global Bestseller Turns 40 - Aid to the Church in Need’s Children’s Bible Celebrates Anniversary

This year, the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its children’s Bible, God Speaks to His Children. Since its release, more than 51 million copies have been distributed across the globe in 189 languages. “It is beyond human understanding just how many children as well as adults have opened themselves to God through the children’s Bible,” the executive president of the foundation, Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, explained when asked about the anniversary. He pointed out that for many families living in the world’s poorest regions, the children’s Bible is the only book that they will ever own.

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The Bishops of Venezuela have released an exhortation regarding the political and economic crisis in their country. The statement has been issued after the illegitimate inauguration of Nicolás Maduro on 10 January 2019 as president for a second term of office.

Since Mr. Maduro first took office, violence and hunger have become emblematic, inflation has skyrocketed, and the migration of Venezuelans out of the country has reached unprecedented levels. Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations.

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On 23rd December, 40 million Congolese citizens will go to the polls to elect a new president, 500 members of the national assembly and 715 members of provincial parliaments. The country’s people are anxiously awaiting the poll, which has already been postponed several times. 

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 On 13th December, 8,000 electronic voting machines, intended for polling stations in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, were destroyed following a fire in the depot where they were being kept. It has yet to be determined whether the fire was deliberate or accidental – but it provides an additional obstacle to the smooth running of the elections. At the end of November, the episcopal conference expressed its concerns over the delays in the polls – which were originally scheduled for November 2016.

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