AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - The condition of Father Norberto Pozzi injured in a mine explosion

Monday, 13 February 2023 missionaries   armed groups  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "Father Norberto Pozzi is better they have taken him off the ventilator and now he is breathing on his own. They have just called me from the hospital in Entebbe", says from Bozoum to Fides Father Aurelio Gazzera, a confrere of the 71-year-old Carmelite missionary who was injured when a mine exploded on the Bozoum-Bocaranga highway, in the northwest of the Central African Republic. "On Friday afternoon, February 10, Father Norberto was on his way from Bozoum to Bouar when, some 22 km from Bozoum, the car he was traveling in hit a mine," says Father Gazzera.
“There were 5 other people, a French confrere and 4 Central African helpers in the Toyota Land Cruiser in addition to the Italian missionary. The confrere suffered minor injuries while a carpenter who is also a catechist suffered a fractured his shoulder".
"The most serious injuries were suffered by Father Norberto," continues the missionary. "The explosion affected his lower limbs. His left leg suffered very serious injuries to the point that on 11 February a MINUSCA (UN Mission in the Central African Republic) helicopter transferred him to the UN force hospital in Bangui where the doctors managed to avoid amputation. Given his conditions, Father Norberto was transferred to a better equipped structure in Entebbe in Uganda”.
“Now some of the Carmelite missionaries here in Central Africa will try to reach our hospitalized confrere in Entebbe, but it will be necessary to wait a few days because there is the problem with visas. We thank the Italian consular authorities for their assistance and all the people who are praying for Father Norberto” says Father Gazzera.
"The problem of mines placed on the road has existed for at least a year and a half. As far as I know, it is not homemade devices, but real mines supplied by third parties to the rebels," the missionary reports.
According to the local press, the rebel group 3R (“Retour, Réclamation et Réhabilitation”) is active in the area. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 13/2/2023)