October 30, 2013

Central African Republic: a lost generation

By |30 October 2013|

Central African Republic has descended into anarchy after rebels seized power in March. The situation has recently deteriorated with popular militias being formed to defend the local population against the rebels,

September 27, 2013

A week is a long time in Central African Republic

By |27 September 2013|

Despite a decision to demobilize Seleka, its fighters keep causing trouble. In Bossangoa this week there have been more clashes and houses burnt down.

Standing up for the people in Central African Republic

By |18 September 2013|

Fr Aurélio Gazzera is the local diocesan Caritas director in Bouar in Northern Central African Republic. On Sunday evening, I was making a visit to sick person in town when I was called over by a group of people. They took me to see a young man who’d been badly beaten after being arrested. Seleka fighters has stopped him in Bocaranga for no reason. They brought him to Bozoum, where he says he was imprisoned for 11 hours, beaten so badly he lost an eye and was left with his legs and arms paralyzed. His family had to pay 90.000 f CFA to take him to hospital. On Monday morning, a widower came to see me to ask for prayers for her son, who’d been similarly arrested and beaten. Again, he’d lost an eye and couldn’t move his arms. She was being asked for 150,000 fCFA to take him to hospital. I went [...]

Giving is receiving in Central African Republic

By |6 September 2013|

By Fr Aurelio Gazzera, Bozoum Now there are already 2,400 displaced, and I fear the numbers will increase as the situation in the country continues to be precarious. This week in the capital Bangui there was shooting and looting and at least one dozen people were killed. But also in the rest of the country there is no peace. In Bohong (80km apart from Bouar), a parish which belongs to our diocese, the shooting and the pillaged forces the priests and religious sisters to leave the place. One of the priests, Fr Michel went 80 km on foot. In Beboura (about 150 km apart from Bozoum) also many people were killed. The first displaced are now arriving to Bozoum. Here in Bozoum this week we were able to start to provide relief supplies to the refugees. In spite of a bridge which was blocked, we have received significant supplies of food stuff [...]

August 30, 2013

Back to school in Central African Republic

By |30 August 2013|

In March 2013, school abruptly came to an end for thousands of children when Seleka rebels seized power. Armed troops ransacked government buildings, hospitals and schools. Teachers fled to the capital; pupils and their families hid in the fields. In co-operation with Unicef, Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) has set up a 6-month program to re-open schools. Apart from organising transport for the teachers we will also make sure salaries are paid again. New books and materials provided by Unicef will be distributed and parents will be encouraged to send their children back to school. Cordaid’s Piet van Gils is in Bangui to arrange the transport of the teachers. “It took quite some effort to get everyone registered on time, to provide them with money for the trip and to get them on to a truck. It will take some of the teachers a week to reach their villages. Once they get there [...]

Fighters run amok in Central African Republic capital

By |23 August 2013|

By Clotaire Mbao Ben-Seb, Communications Officer Caritas Central Africa Residents of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, have been living through days of a deafening concert of gunfire: Kalashnikovs are the tenors, submachine guns are the sopranos and the mortars and rockets are the bass. People stayed awake hiding under the Mango trees until three in the morning to avoid being hit. There have been several deaths and homes have been ransacked. At a community hospital in Bangui, they have 14 patients with gunshot wounds. Six needed surgery. One of them, the son of former President Kolingba, received a bullet that went through his chest and will need specialist care. At the another clinic, the Friendship Hospital, five patients were transferred to trauma care. Over 200 people filled the hallways and hide beneath the Mango trees in the grounds in search of safety. Bodies are being found in homes. […]

Central African Republic on the brink

By |23 August 2013|

Fr Aurélio Gazzera is the local diocesan Caritas director in Bouar in Northern Central African Republic. Rebel Seleka forces seized power in CAR in March, plunging the country into anarchy. The United Nations said last week the country was on the brink of collapse and the crisis was threatening to spread beyond its borders. Caritas Internationalis has launched an international appeal for over €700,000 to support its work for peace and reconciliation, help people meet their immediate needs and re-establish their livelihoods as well as offer basic health services in nine dioceses.Fr Gazzera’s eye-witness accounts have spoken of villages being abandoned as people flee the violence. By Fr Aurélio Gazzera There are makeshift road blocks around Bohong, manned by Seleka fighters. The armed men charge you 1000 CAR francs to enter or leave the town if you’re on a bike, while its 200 CAR francs if you’re on foot. If […]

Peace mission in Central African Republic

By |19 August 2013|

By Fr.Aurelio Gazzera in Bozoum, Central African Republic Francais and Espanol    These days we received a great gift: The visit of the Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga. He is one of the few people in the country who raise their voices against injustice and violence. He is the president of the Episcopal Conference and of Caritas. He brought us the solidarity of the Church and gave us great encouragement.  He came here to examine the situation of the 2,400 displaced people who abandoned  their villages along the Bozoum-Bossangoa road to get to Bouzom. On Saturday we started with a meeting with the delegates of the eight villages, who presented their situation and their needs. Their most urgent need is peace and security. But then also healthcare, food, shelter… At 10 AM we met with one of the few officials who remained in the city. However, he does not have any power, as everything [...]

July 25, 2013

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    Caritas Central African Republic Director wounded in shooting

Caritas Central African Republic Director wounded in shooting

By |25 July 2013|

Caritas Central African Republic Director Fr Elysée Guedjande is recovering in hospital after being shot Friday 19 July in Bangui. Two unidentified men attacked Fr Guedjande as he was parking his car, asking for the keys to the vehicle. As the priest tried to escape, he was hit in the leg by a bullet.

Catastrophe in Central African Republic

By |4 July 2013|

The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic is becoming dramatic, according to Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui. “It’s catastrophic,” said the Archbishop. Basic services like health and education have collapsed following a coup, food is scarce, businesses are struggling to survive and public sector salaries have gone unpaid. [Read Caritas Africa statement on the situation in Central African Republic] “The needs in my country are great. People are ill and don’t have medicines,” he said. Reports show that many medical clinics are either closed or have no medicine available. “They don’t have food. Every evening for the past week there’s been a ‘concert of saucepans’ in Bangui. People are out on the streets banging their pots because they are so hungry,” said the Church leader. Conflict erupted in December 2012 when the ‘Séléka’ rebel coalition launched a series of attacks, seizing Bangui in March. An estimated 206,000 people are internally displaced in the [...]

June 4, 2013

A cry for peace for Central African Republic

By |4 June 2013|

Read in French By Clotaire Mbao Ben Seba, Bangui If you think a smile is stronger than a weapon If you believe in the power of an offered hand, If you can look at the other with a touch of love If you prefer to know the hope to suspicion, If for you the other is primarily a brother, If you believe that peace is possible, Then peace will come. A hymn for peace sung by students of St. Theresa School in Bangui at a special Mass for reconciliation. “If we speak, write and cry loud enough, someone may stop, listen and do something,” said Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, Caritas director in the diocese of Bouar in the Central African Republic. But he doubts that help will come to a country with chronically instability and little strategic value. Conflict, human rights abuses and lawlessness has been rampant there since the rebel […]

May 23, 2013

Central Africa Republic slides into chaos

By |23 May 2013|

Cases of arbitrary killings, robberies, looting and abductions have been reported throughout Central African Republic since Seleka rebel forces seized power in March.
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    ‘Everything has been destroyed and nearly everyone has been robbed’ – Central Africa Republic

‘Everything has been destroyed and nearly everyone has been robbed’ – Central Africa Republic

By |2 May 2013|

Reports coming out of Bangui paint a brutal picture of fear and violence with no end in sight. No one feels safe and help and comfort are hard to come by as the violence persists.

February 19, 2013

  • Supporters of Central African Republic President Francois Bozize demonstrate at the airport in Bangui December 30, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/Luc Gnago courtesy of AlertNet.org
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    Central African Republic tired of “useless suffering” at hands of rebels, say bishops

Central African Republic tired of “useless suffering” at hands of rebels, say bishops

By |19 February 2013|

Bishops from Central African Republic (CAR) have made a desperate plea to the international community and their government to help communities who are being terrorised by rebels. The country has been unstable since Seleka, a coalition of five separate rebel groups started to advance from the north in early December 2012. They have been accused of human rights abuses, including rape as a weapon of war. Communities who have been “taken hostage” by rebels have been cut off from any help and aid agencies have limited activity. “A large part of regions in CAR is occupied by the SELEKA coalition,” said the bishops in a four-page message. “People in these areas are hostages, they live in fear, they flee into the bush and they abandon their fields. The sick are without care, hospitals are closed or have been completely destroyed and schools have been pillaged.” Ten bishops signed the message, including Archbishop [...]

Caritas appeal following Central African Republic unrest

By |1 February 2013|

Caritas is launching an appeal for funds to help communities in the Central African Republic who are still reeling from attacks on towns and communities by rebels. The rebel forces started to advance in northeastern CAR in December 2012 and nearly brought about the fall of the capital Bangui. A ceasefire was agreed in January but the situation remains precarious. The UN has condemned the use of child soldiers, rape, sexual slavery and the killing and maiming of civilians in the country. The threat of violence has meant that many people have left their homes. Meanwhile, some staff working for CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands) in Bangui were evacuated earlier this month. “Once more people of the Central African Republic, women, children and young people in particular, have found themselves facing distress, famine and cut off from access to healthcare and hygiene facilities,” said Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, president of Caritas Central African Republic. Caritas is [...]

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