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 [...]

Killings reported in Central Africa Republic

By |9 August 2013|

By Clotaire Mbao Ben-Seb, Communications Officer Caritas Central Africa The people of Central African Republic continue to live through a terrifying ordeal. Calm has returned to the capital Bangui, but in the interior of the country, human rights abuses are continuing according to local staff. Fr Aurélio Gazzera is the local diocesan Caritas director in Bouar in northern CAR. He says that there has been violence, robbery and killings against the local people from 25 July. People are experiencing the worst conditions of their lives. Fr Gazzera was part of a fact finding mission to Ouhman-Bac on Sunday 27 July. He says there are reports of between 30 to 50 bodies thrown into the river Ouham. This has caused people to flee from the area. Caritas is seeking to find out further confirmation around the incident. Fr Gazzera says that there is a lack of food, medicine, sleeping mats and tarpaulins for people as the rainy [...]

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.

January 31, 2013

God of Wonders

By |31 January 2013|

By CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands) staff Rebel attacks in the Central African Republic have left communities terrified. The violence got so bad in early January that some aid agencies evacuated employees. On January 17, a boat called “God of Wonders” docked in the capital, Bangui. Among its passengers were some Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) employees who could not be evacuated by air earlier on. It was necessary to evacuate the Cordaid employees because of the rebel army, which in December 2012 had launched an offensive to depose the president. By the beginning of January it looked as if the rebels’ advance couldn’t be contained and a large part of the country was already in their hands. Recent negotiations between the rebels and the government has resulted in a new peace agreement. In the meantime, however, a large proportion of the population had fled from the violence. It was also necessary to evacuate Cordaid employees, partially [...]

June 10, 2011

The power of voting in Congo

By |10 June 2011|

The Congolese will go to the polls in November to elect a new president. The country held its first democratic election in 45 years in 2006 following a long conflict. The vote ran relatively smoothly despite fears of violence. Caritas Congo has met with other Catholic agencies from Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the US, the UK and Spain to plan how to best prepare communities for the upcoming elections. Bruno Miteyo, secretary general of Caritas Congo, explains some of the issues around voting. The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) are wondering if the elections will really be democratic and if they’ll be an expression of their will – or if they’ll be manipulated in a way that the outcome reflects a decision that has already been taken by others Our main worry at Caritas Congo is security before, during and after the election and how the election will be organised. [...]

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