By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
CAYENNE, FRANCE (Worthy News) – Questions remain about the death of an evangelical pastor in French Guiana who was shot and killed before his church was torched amid an ongoing debate about religious freedom in France.
The May 3 killing of A. Kalloe, the pastor of the Gado Lobi church in the town of Saint-Laurent du Maroni, shocked this overseas territory of France in South America. At least seven people were reportedly injured in the violence.
Hours later, the church building was burned to the ground, said witnesses. Worthy News also obtained footage showing extensive damage.
The motive behind the attacks remained unclear Friday. However, Christians noted that the day before he was killed, Pastor Kalloe, a member of the Guiana branch of the National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF), met a delegation from France.
During their talks, the council members discussed recent French legislation, which some considered a violation of religious rights.
The “anti-separatism” bill restricts the wearing of religious symbols by government employees and gives the government power to potentially control preaching and church groups.
Before their meeting in French Guinea, the CNEF, along with the World Evangelical Alliance and European Evangelical Alliance, asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee to investigate the freedom of religion in France.
Pastor Kalloe was “actively involved in the community and with his church family,” Christians said. A local politician, Lénaïck Adam, referred to the pastor as “a man of faith.”
And, “I honor his memory and offer my sincere condolences to his family. I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” he added. “May the perpetrators be quickly found.”
Clément Diedrichs, director of the CNEF, suggested that the murder and church attack was carried out by one or more people hating the pastor and his congregation. The church “was still smoking. I had never seen a church totally destroyed by fire.”
He hopes answers will soon be found about who carried out the attacks and why. “We are completely puzzled,” Diedrichs stressed in published remarks.
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