AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - 80% of the country in the hands of rebels; a missionary: "We are the poorest State in the world"

Monday, 20 November 2017 poverty   armed groups  

ACN Canada

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The war seemed to be over, but unfortunately it is not over everywhere", writes to Agenzia Fides Fr. Federico Trinchero, a Carmelite in the monastery Our Lady of Carmel in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. "The relatively quiet situation in Bangui - where there have recently been episodes of violence (see Fides 13/11/2017) - is apparently misleading", the missionary points out.
"In the inland areas of the country the picture is quite different. Since May, groups of rebels - not always identifiable with regards to their origin and targets - resulted in hundreds of deaths, houses burned, and thousands of refugees in several cities and villages. This state of affairs has been dragging on for too long. There is a risk of getting used to war, as if it were inevitable".
"Two unequivocal data express, more than any other analysis, the dramatic situation in which Central Africa finds itself", says Fr. Federico.
"80% of the territory is, in fact, still occupied, or in any case controlled, by rebel groups who dictate law in place of the State". "The absence of the State in areas far away from capital was one of the reasons that triggered the war in 2013", recalls the missionary. "Ignoring it may not be a good strategy. The election of a new president, the massive presence of the United Nations, the interest and copious contributions from the international community seemed a propitious opportunity to turn page. The results have disappointed expectations. We have not been able to move forward", says Fr. Federico.
"The second point is about poverty. According to the latest UN report, Central Africa is now ranked 188th out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index". "We are therefore the poorest Country in the world", highlights Fr. Federico.
"Central Africa was already at the bottom of the ratings. These last years of war have used up the few resources it possessed. And although rankings are always a bit unpleasant, this data remains an eloquent indicator of the Country's real situation".
"In the face of a desperate picture, there are many reasons to be pessimistic, discouraged and to surrender", says the missionary. It is pointless to continue accusing an enemy, never well defined, or to wait for someone - almost by magic - to change the situation". "Maybe it is time to start doing something so that the situation changes. And magic, or rather, the miracle would be that this something would be made by Central Africians themselves, because of their love for their homeland", concludes Fr. Federico. (F.T.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 20/11/2017)