AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - A missionary from Bangui:"Schools and construction sites are the hope for the future"

Wednesday, 28 December 2016 missionaries   development  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation in the Country remains precarious, particularly in some cities. However, in the capital, at least in the last two months, there have been no particular clashes", writes Fr. Federico Trinchero, Discalced Carmelite missionary who works in the convent Notre Dame du Mont Carmel in Bangui, Central African Republic capital, where 3,000 displaced persons are welcomed (see Fides 06/05/2015). "It was not like this in the previous months, when that truce which miraculously began after Pope Francis’ visit, was seriously threatened with more deaths, too many dead, for what we thought was the beginning of peace".
Fr. Federico gives the example of the neighborhood of Km 5 in Bangui, which "still remains an enclave from where Muslims come out very rarely and where Christians pass by very quickly. Around this enclave there is a large uninhabited ring, a sort of no man's land, where the signs of war are clearly visible. Here, a little over three years ago, Christians and Muslims lived in peace. Now, however, everyone seems hostage to the other. There are only ripped or burnt houses, ruined roofs, grass, carcasses of cars. There are only the walls that remains of the parish of Saint Michel".
"Meanwhile operation Sangaris of the French military ended, who have the great merit of having avoided a bloodbath - in December 2013 the threat of genocide was more than real - and to have brought the country to almost perfect elections. In fact no one disputed the result and questioned the legitimacy of the new President". "It was a feat, considering the difficult situation in which the country sunk into and making a comparison with other African realities" said Fr. Federico.
"Now the baton has passed into the hands of the 12,000 UN soldiers who, unfortunately, are often accused of inaction, if not complicity with the rebels still active in the north. Therefore there have been protests calling for their departure and the formation of a true Central African army (virtually non-existent for the past three years). Personally, although not particularly competent in the matter, I believe that if the UN did not exist, the situation would be worse and that an effective and accountable national army would not be created in a short space of time", says the missionary.
"It will take time for the situation of Central Africa to stabilize in the long term: it takes very little to start a war, but to win peace takes time, patience and courage", says the missionary, who stresses two important signs of peace are visible, at least in the city of Bangui: the regularity of classes in schools and the opening of several sites for the construction or repair of buildings, roads and bridges. Dozens of young people, unemployed before, are fortunately committed to studying or working. Schools and construction sites subtract the masses of young people, who before and during the war, were the reservoir of discontent from which the rebellions easily recruited staff to destabilize the Country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 28/12/2016)