AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - Religious leaders: “declare legitimate Bangassou people request for withdrawal of Moroccan UN Peacekeepers

Friday, 11 August 2017 un   armed groups   violence  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides)- In Bangassou, a city in the south east of the Central African Republic the people are demanding the withdrawal of the Moroccan troops of the UN Peacekeeping Mission.
“The request is legitimate and confirms the request forwarded by Mons. Aguirre, the Catholic Bishop of Bangassou” says Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, leader of the platform of Religious Confessions in the Central African Republic (PCRC) who was part of a delegation sent from the capital Bangui to investigate regarding the situation in and around Bangassou. The delegation comprised representatives of local politics, state administration and the civil society.
In a report to Fides, Bishop Juan José Aguirre Muños of Bangassou, had precious;y denounced the troops of MINUSCA (UN Mission in Central Africa), deployed in area for being “trigger happy” : they react to ambushes with indiscriminate firing, hitting also innocent persons (see Fides 10/8/2017).
“The people are witnesses and victims of the activity in the city of the Moroccan contingent of the UN peacekeepers” said Imam Layama. “The people want the contingent to leave Bangassou because it has failed in its duty to protect civilians. These troops do little or nothing when the militiamen attack. Some say the Moroccan military are the cause of several cases of murder because they shoot civilians point blank calling them militia” continued the Imam.
Bangassou and surroundings are the scene of clashes between former Seleka rebels and Anti Balaka militia, following the withdrawal of Ugandan and US troops sent to the area to hunt for Joseph Koni, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For some months now Bangassou cathedral has sheltered some two thousand Muslim citizens threatened by the Anti Balaka militia (see Fides 24/7/2017).
(L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/8/2017)