AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "The situation in Bouar is a bit calmer although there are reprisals against the Muslims"

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "We are finally breathing a bit of peace" says to Fides a missionary in Bouar, in the west of the Central African Republic. "Currently the situation is quite calm after last week’s problems, caused by the Seleka rebels heading towards Chad".
"Bouar is a strategic crossroads because here there are roads that lead towards Cameroon (west) and Chad (north)", explains the missionary. "There have been several clashes between Seleka and Balaka militias, we experienced extremely tense days. The problem now is that Bouar is in the hands of anti Balaka militias that hunt Muslims, many of whom are fleeing. Now there is an exodus of Central African Muslims towards Cameroon".
The missionary adds that "the picture is actually more complex because officially the anti Balaka militias are hunting those who have been complicit with the rebels, but say they want to protect innocent civilians from revenge and acts of predation. And in fact they also organize night patrols to try to limit the violence".
"In addition to these, however, several criminal groups engaged in looting have been created. In short, under the label "anti Balaka" there is a bit of everything", says the missionary. "The inhabitants of nearby villages burned a bridge to prevent Seleka to go back"
At a humanitarian level finally the missionary reports that "the World Food Programme (WFP) working in Bouar collaborates with Caritas to distribute food to the displaced". (LM) (Agenzia Fides 04/02/2014)