“There was no kidnapping”: Catholic Bishop on Reported Abduction of CAR Cardinal

Credit: LANOCA

Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga of the Central African Republic (CAR) was not abducted, a Catholic Bishop in the country has said, and faulted media reports that a ransom has been paid to secure the release of the Archbishop of CAR’s Bangui Archdiocese.

The March 18 media reports indicated that Cardinal Nzapalainga had been allegedly kidnapped in the town of Ouadda, Haute Kotto, about 800 kilometers north-east of Bangui by rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). 

In a statement issued Sunday, March 19, the Local Ordinary of Bambari Diocese who was part of the Cardinal’s delegation says, “There was no kidnapping, no ransom, no threats, no restriction of movement.”

Bishop Bertrand Guy Richard Appora-Ngalanibé explains the events of March 18, “The Cardinal’s delegation arrived in Ouadda and, wanting to continue on to Ouadda Djallé, was stopped at 5 km by one of the leaders of the elements of the Ouadda CPC, asking him to turn back and wait for instructions from their leaders based in Ouadda_Djallé before taking the road.”

“The cardinal complied with this order,” Bishop Appora-Ngalanibé further says about the member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), and adds, “This process lasted a few hours; the authorization was given on Saturday, March 18 at about 8:00 am.”


“We took the road to Ouadda Djallé, where we arrived without any incident and were welcomed by a crowd overflowing with joy and emotions,” the 50-year-old member of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans - OP) continues.

Cardinal Nzapalainga “celebrated Mass on Sunday at Sam Ouandja where he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation and laid the foundation stone for the construction of a new Parish,” the Catholic Bishop further says in his statement issued March 19.

In a March 18 RFI report, CPC leadership clarifies that the Cardinal and his delegation were never kidnapped.

“It was a delegation that entered our area of jurisdiction without informing us, so we had to check,” CPC spokesperson Aboubacar Sidik has been quoted as saying, and adding, “This is a very dangerous area, we are on alert, so we had to check so that nothing happens to them.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.