AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - The testimony of a missionary in the midst of the violence in Central Africa

Monday, 20 January 2014

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "Between 8 and 9 January, Seleka burned more than 1,300 homes and killed at least a dozen people in the area of Bozoum. To do this in a context of tensions, is suicide" denounces Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, a Carmelite missionary who works in Bozoum in the west of the Central African Republic. The country is torn by clashes between former Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka militia, who have forced a million civilians to flee.
Seleka have now pull backed from Bozoum, leaving behind lots of hatred and resentment against the Muslim population, considered a supporter of the rebels. Fr. Gazzera unceasingly continues to try to calm things down among the different communities, bringing loads of food at the same time. In the course of his missionary journeys he was a witness not only of looting and violence, but also of episodes of help among people of different faiths, as in a village , where several Muslim women were protected by the Christians.
In Bozoum the soldiers of MISCA (Mission of the Central African States) have arrived, but Fr. Gazzera says that "it is clear that we need a more significant military force. MISCA has left only 11 soldiers in the area who are not sufficient to ensure safety and initiate an urgent operation of disarmament". (LM) (Agenzia Fides 20/01/2014)