AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Bishop of Bangassou: "Hope for the election of a new President, but we continue to suffer the presence of the LRA"

Thursday, 25 February 2016 armed groups   elections  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "At last we have a new President. Beyond the person who holds the office, what is important is that we have a new President that we hope will lead the Country out of the abyss into which we sank three years ago", says to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, commenting on the election in the second round of Faustin-Archange Touadéra as Head of State of the Central African Republic. The election should pave the way to the normalization of the Country after the chaos created by the clash between the Seleka rebellion and anti-Balaka militias.
"The political situation gives us great hope now because we see the light at the end of the tunnel, but here in the Bangassou area we always live under the threat of the LRA, the guerrilla group of Ugandan origin that has raged for years, attacking the villages of the diocese", said Mgr. Aguirre.
"There are at least 10 LRA groups who plunder villages, destroying barns and force young people to carry the stolen goods. In some cases, young people remain 5 to 10 days in the hands of the LRA, but many never return", added the Bishop.
The other day Mgr. Aguirre met a boy who, after four years of captivity, managed to escape from the hands of the LRA. "This boy, Alain, told me that he had been seized in a village near Mbre with his wife, his children, his mother and his brother's family. In 4 years of imprisonment he did not know anything about what has since happened in Central Africa, he did not know anything about Seleka or the anti-Balaka militias", says the Bishop.
"The living conditions with the LRA are unbearable. Alain’s mother was forced to bring in the forest 20-30 pounds of supplies over the head. After 8 hours of walking she fell on the floor and was hit with a machete. Alain's wife was raped by one of the LRA leaders and became pregnant. She bled to death due to internal bleeding in her fifth month of pregnancy because she had to work. When Alain escaped he lost contact with his children and brother's family".
"This is just one of many stories of LRA slaves who are treated like animals by their captors", concluded Mgr. Aguirre. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/02/2016)