Cheers rang out from the 40,000 people trapped in the Catholic Mission in Bossangoa as peacekeeping troops arrived. “It came as a huge relief,” said Fr. Alain Eouanzoui, the Vicar General of Bossangoa, “We believe the nightmare might soon be over.”
Caritas staff in the Central African Republic are reporting the capital Bangui and many parts of the country are gripped by chaos and terror as fighting continues between forces loyal to the ex-president and the fighters who overthrew him.
Caritas and the Catholic Church in Central African Republic are calling for an immediate ceasefire as heavy fighting breaks out in the capital Bangui between forces loyal to the former president and the fighters who overthrew his regime.
Even from the air, the situation looks scary. The plane circles the deserted town, not a soul in sight. As the descent begins, hundreds of white and blue spots can be made out; they're the canvases of the makeshift tents of the displaced.
“I was lucky,” said Thierry Diacro Lzila, a farmer in Ndangala, a village 40 km outside of the Central African Republic capital, Bangui. “I was in the church when the fighters arrived to search our homes. I was able to hide my tools.”
Caritas and the Church have been working hard to provide aid to the compound in Bossangoa, including blankets and food. But the insecurity and disorder makes that very difficult. Needs are acute and growing.
While the crisis is only just beginning to register in the consciousness of the international community, for months now I’ve been reading reports from Caritas CAR, detailing the horrors faced by members of their parishes.