AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "Fr. Albert, a pastor esteemed for his action for reconciliation between Christians and Muslims"

Tuesday, 8 May 2018 violence  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "Fr. Albert, seventy-one years old and among the oldest priests of the clergy of Bangui, was a pastor esteemed and known for his simplicity and sympathy, and above all for his discreet and tireless work in favor of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims", writes to Agenzia Fides Fr. Federico Trinchero, a Carmelite of the monastery of Our Lady of Carmel in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, recalling Fr. Albert Tungumale Baba, the priest killed together with about twenty faithful on the morning of May 1, in the attack against the parish of Notre Dame de Fatima (see Fides, 2/5/2018) by an armed group from the Km5 district.
"During the most acute phases of the war, he had received thousands of refugees from neighboring areas for several years in his parish, very close to Km5. Fr. Albert, moreover, was known to all for his great love for Sango, the national language of Central Africa, not particularly rich in vocabulary. Fr. Albert could translate every word (without using French), with brilliant solutions or funny words", says the missionary.
"In an interview Fr. Albert had said that only God can now save Central Africa. Many are still trying to save Central Africa: the national army, the African Union troops, the French mission (which still has the great merit of having prevented the conflict from becoming a massacre), the soldiers of the European Union, MINUSCA, the great mission of the UN (which, albeit with all its limitations, is currently the only possible solution) and now the Russians are on the horizon. Even Pope Francis tried with his visit in November 2015, unfortunately, the effect of that visit vanished and the opportunity to turn page was once again wasted. Clashes have multiplied over the entire country and peace seems almost more distant than before", writes Fr. Federico.
The missionary reiterates that "the war in Central Africa, which began as early as 2012, is not a confessional or ethnic clash. Rather it is the umpteenth conflict for the conquest of power and for the exploitation of the riches of which the subsoil abounds. Unfortunately, the confessional element has entered violently, poisoning the coexistence between Christians and Muslims that made Central Africa an example of peaceful coexistance".
During the homily, on the occasion of the funeral of the murdered priest and some of the victims, His Eminence Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, denounced the inertia of the government, the slowness of the UN and the risk that Christians give in to discouragement or, worse still, to the logic of violence and revenge. There is an insidious enemy that is destroying Central Africa. And this enemy, the Cardinal pointed out, is the devil. Only the weapons of faith can overcome it.
"Bangui, wounded at the heart of its faith, is not angry with God. It is rather angry with those men who do not want peace and persist in blocking the Country, as if it were ineluctably condemned to misery and war. Bangui and all of Central Africa are looking for heroes - among the rulers, soldiers, the young - who stand up as one man and say no to war and yes to peace", concludes Fr. Federico. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/5/2018)