tensions surrounding the reopening of Gabonese churches, still closed

After endless negotiations on the conditions for reopening places of worship, the Federation of Charismatic, Pentecostal and Revival Church of Gabon decided on September 12 to reopen churches without permission this Sunday despite the Covid-19 epidemic. The government considers the process unacceptable and it acted on Sunday 27th Sunday.

During a press conference on Saturday, September 26, Interior Minister Lambert Noël Matha threatened religious leaders who were tempted to defy the ban. “A group of religious leaders has planned to unilaterally resume their activities on September 27. Something that sounds perceived as a challenge to the public authority. ”

Sunday after this threat, almost all churches remained closed. All except Bethsaida Church by the president of the pastoral collective who decided to override the government ban. At 12 o’clock, the police arrived to arrest Bishop Jean-Baptiste Moulaka in front of his faithful. “We did not come to worship. There were mothers who cleaned the church to kill bacteria. There are no cults. The proof, the church is closed. He was in his office, ”explains one woman. “They put him in the car and went to the police station,” this man adds.

Kl. 14 released Jean-Baptiste Moulaka and explains why he called for the reopening of churches. “The church has been closed for seven months. But do they see the high price we pay? Someone has to get up and say to the government “think of us”, it is not a defiance! He proclaims.

Churches, schools, bars and motels have been closed for more than six months due to the coronavirus epidemic raging in the country.