AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "Civil society organizes itself, but authorities do not always help", says a missionary

Monday, 30 June 2014

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation is still very fragile", says to Fides Agency Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, a Carmelite missionary, pastor in Bozoum, in the Central African Republic, where the crisis was one of the points under discussion during the African Union summit that was held last week in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
"Compared to a few weeks ago, there are some improvements, but there is insecurity in a Country where, for example, to go from Bangui to Bozoum one has to go through at least nine anti-Balaka militias blockages, in addition to those of the 'regular army, who in theory should be the only one to hold the power to control", the missionary said. "The militiamen at checkpoints extort the poor unfortunates who are trying to pass. This creates a dangerous situation because these people are often under the influence of drugs, marijuana".
Fr. Aurelio, who has just returned to Bozoum after being in Europe to talk about the situation in Central Africa (he was, inter alia, at the UN headquarters in Geneva), said he found the situation in his place of mission "quite good, thanks largely to the efforts of the mediation committee, composed of representatives from civil society, that seek to resolve disputes in a peaceful manner".
"The problem is that the sub-prefect, not only does not do his job, but is doing everything possible to stop this trend. Instead of supporting peace efforts he is hindering them.
We need to change the mentality of this country if we want it to get out of the cyclical crises that continues to destroy it", concludes Fr. Aurelio. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/06/2014)