AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "What are the true intentions of Seleka towards us?" Ask the Bishops

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "Never this anymore, no to impunity". Is the title of the letter sent to the new Central African President, Michel-Am Nondroko Djotodia, from the three Bishops of the Metropolitan diocese of Bangui: Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui; Mgr. Nestor Désiré Nongo Aziagbia, Bishop of Bossangoa; Mgr. Cyr Nestor Yapaupa, Bishop of Alindao.
"In closeness to the suffering people and driven by the pastoral concern" the Bishops "humbly" propose some proposals to the President in order to release the Central African Republic from the crisis which began last December and which continues even after the conquest of Bangui by the rebel Seleka coalition, the ouster of former President François Bozizé and the establishment of the new regime.
The Bishops criticize the logic of war, which has led to the current situation (while recognizing as true certain claims advanced by the rebels: poverty, lack of water and electricity ...), and denounce the violence committed against the population by members of Seleka: torture, sexual violence against women and girls (some of whom have committed suicide); recruitment of child soldiers, displacement of people; looting of public buildings, hospitals, schools ... "The Central Africans are now considered as beasts of burden that one has to chase and kill with impunity, " say the three prelates.
"What are the true intentions of Seleka towards us" ask the Bishops noting that the areas occupied by the rebel movement (made up largely of foreign Muslims), the Christian population and ecclesial communities have been systematically looted while Muslim families have been spared.
The Bishops are asking the new President to denounce the violence of Seleka, to initiate a process of disarmament, to repatriate stolen assets transferred in Chad and Sudan, and to indemnify the Church for all properties "stolen, looted or vandalized." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 06/05/2013)