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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Read in French Cases of arbitrary killings, robberies, looting and abductions have been reported throughout Central African Republic since Seleka rebel forces seized power in March. “I saw a man walking down the street. Armed men called out to him. Then he was shot and killed for no reason,” said Solange. “I have been living in fear for the past three months. I just stay at home all day. The school is closed any way.” As well as widespread criminality and human rights abuses, concerns have been raised over the forced recruitment of teenagers by armed groups. Meanwhile, basic services have ground to a halt. A Caritas aid worker said that without the rule of law, many schools have not reopened and even where they have, only few students are attending.
Pictures are said to speak a thousand words, but sometimes a paragraph works just as well. This is the picture that Bishop Juan José Aguirre of Bangassou recently painted of the Central African Republic in an email to Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands).
“Roads are closed and officials cannot get to their places of work. People in Bangui are isolated and institutions in the rest of the country remain unmanned,” wrote Bishop Bangassou towards the end of April.
”Salaries are no longer being paid, families have become even poorer, people have less to eat, and school contributions can no longer be paid. Gasoline supplies have also dried up. This means that traffic will come to a standstill and generators will no longer work. As a knock-on effect there will be no electricity to charge mobile phones, no power to operate oxygen and other equipment in hospitals. There will also be no transport for […]