p. Federico Trinchero
Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "All refugees have returned home!" The news was reported by Fr. Federico Trinchero, Discalced Carmelite missionary who works in the Notre Dame du Mont Carmel convent in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, where as a result of the civil war which broke out in 2012, 10,000 displaced people had been welcomed (see Fides 04/12/2014).
"After three years and three months, our adventure which began on December 5, 2013 ends here. And this is the last episode of the history of our monastery which suddenly became a refugee camp", writes Fr. Federico. Below we publish an excerpt of his story
"Since January, a project funded by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in cooperation with the Central African Government and other partners, allowed all our refugees (and those, much more numerous, still camped near Bangui airport) to at last be able to return in the city's neighborhoods and to resume a normal life. Each family received a small financial support only on condition to carry all their belongings in the new residence, dismantle their tent and abandon the camp. No one was forced to abandon the camp; they all readily agreed to leave. Everything took place in an orderly manner and without major hitches. Or rather, we were amazed at the manner with which our refugee camp was emptied and ended its existence. Obviously all this was possible not only due to the small economic incentive, but especially for the situation of peace and security in the capital. This new climate encouraged our refugees to take the plunge and start a new life in their home town or in another area of the city.
On January 8, we celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving to the Lord for all his blessings.
We ended the Mass on the hill at the center of our property with the blessing of the city of Bangui and imploring the gift of peace for the whole country. In fact, we must not forget that, if the situation has improved in the capital, we cannot say the same thing regarding other parts of the country, such as Bocaranga or Bambari. Small groups of rebels - not always easily identifiable, unfortunately continue to engage in criminal actions causing innocent victims, sowing fear and forcing the population to leave villages. With great difficulty the UN mission seeks to curb these phenomena which, hopefully, will absolutely be eradicated to allow the whole country - not just the capital - to resolutely take the path of peace and development". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 06/03/2017)