AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Religious coexistence in danger in Bria due to fighting for the control of mines

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 armed groups   dialogue  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "Despite the numerous awareness campaigns and appeals of religious community leaders in Bria for the return of peace, the resumption of fighting among the various armed groups for city control and neighboring mining areas, has completely paralyzed social cohesion and the discreet coexistence between Christian and Muslim communities", says the Platform for Religious Confessions in Central Africa for Peace (PCRC).
Bria is in the central-eastern part of the Central African Republic, and for months it has been in the midst of clashes among rival miliamen for its control and especially for the surrounding gold and diamond mines (see Fides 23/6/2017).
"Bria has become an unrecognizable town", says Pastor Augusto Ngbando. "The communities that lived in perfect harmony have become enemies. Now children cannot go to school, farmers can no longer go to their fields because of armed men roaming in the forest. Markets are almost deserted".
"Following the awareness campaigns carried out by all religious leaders, peace and harmony has begun to return within the population, but the latest clashes have destroyed our efforts", said the pastor who launched an appeal to the leaders of the PCRC (including Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui) to travel to his city to try to mediate among the parties in conflict and to reassure the population. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 30/8/2017)