October 15 2014

CAR: SOS child killed by stray bullet in Bengui

With deep sadness we report the shooting death of an SOS child in the war-torn Central African Republic. The 11-year-old boy was caught in the crossfire of rival militias in Bangui.

Grâce à Dieu Serengana (11), an SOS child, died of a gunshot wound in Bangui, the Central African Republic (CAR), on 9 October 2014. He was the victim of violence between rival militias in the war-torn capital of the CAR.

15 October 2014 - Grâce à Dieu Serengana (11), was visiting his biological family outside of the SOS Children's Village, when he was hit by a stray bullet, on Thursday, 9 October 2014. He was taken to the hospital but died the same evening, said SOS Children's Villages Central African Republic National Director, Marcel Koyadouma.

Fresh clashes recently broke out in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), amid growing tensions between rival militias. Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard starting on Thursday, 9 October 2014. The latest clashes are the fiercest since a UN force took over peacekeeping duties last month.

Due to the ongoing conflict, SOS children in Bangui had not had the opportunity to leave the SOS Children's Village for close to two years. With the return of relative calm last month, the children were allowed to visit their biological families again. It was during such a visit that the militias began fighting again, and the 11-year-old was hit by a stray bullet.

Sporadic gunfire could still be heard in Bangui the day after Grâce à Dieu Serengana was killed.  Movement in the town was limited and the city's streets were empty. Shops were closed, and residents – including SOS Children’s Villages staff – stayed indoors.

Mr Koyadouma and his team are closely monitoring the situation. Additionally, his staff are continuously communicating with the families that are currently hosting SOS children at home. UN international forces have also been contacted to further secure the safety of the SOS Children's Village.

Once there is a resumption of calm, Grâce à Dieu will be laid to rest. We send our deepest condolences to his SOS family, relatives and friends.