Since this morning, we have been visiting the Diocesan Caritas to collect information on the security and humanitarian situation in the country from the weekend until today, Monday 28 December 2020.
Archdiocese of Bangui
In central Bangui, the situation remains relatively calm after the vote, which went well overall. There was a strong enthusiasm among the population to go and carry out this civic duty.
On the other hand, some areas of the archdiocese are still experiencing critical moments in relation to the presence, threats and certain acts of violence by armed groups of the new CPC coalition. In Yaloké, Bossembélé and Boali, people are still living in deep distress. There was no vote in Yaloké and Bossembélé. Most of the populations of these two localities have found refuge in the bush. In Bossembélé, there are already three (03) cases of people who have been bitten by snakes and died in the bush. The presbytery of Bossembélé has been looted by these armed groups in the town. Free circulation on this road is still problematic.
Diocese of Mbaïki
The situation is relatively calm after last week’s turbulent moments. People who were found at the Catholic mission as IDPs are gradually returning to their homes. However, around forty travellers leaving for Mambéré have remained stuck in the town because of the difficulties of free movement on the road. It should also be noted that there was no vote in the localities of Boda and Boganangone because of the presence and threats of armed groups.
Diocese of Bouar
The security and humanitarian situation remain worrying throughout most of the diocese. The population is living in a state of psychosis due to acts of terror and disruption by the armed groups of the new CPC coalition. Apart from the locality of Baoro where the vote was held, the other sub-prefectures of the diocese did not have the chance to vote because of the firing or blowing up of weapons. Cases of looting and robbery of certain sites are beginning to be recorded. As an example, we can mention the site of the SOS Children’s Village which was robbed. The Abbot Ange Ngassenemo who works there was a victim of this act: he ended up with a fractured forearm.
Diocese of Bossangoa
The security and humanitarian situation remain critical or worrying both in Bossangoa and in the rest of the diocese. Freedom of movement is truly compromised because of the threats and multiple movements of armed groups. The population is living in a very precarious situation. Some find themselves in the bush, at the mercy of wild animals and some assailants who sometimes use the transhumance corridors. Throughout the diocese, there are votes in two localities: Bouca and Paoua. For some time now, cases of looting have already started to be recorded. The AGETIF site in Bossagoa has been systematically looted these days.
Diocese of Bambari
It is one of the dioceses which is heavily invaded by armed groups that obey the direct commands of the infamous Gl Ali Darass based in Bokolobo. These elements robbed several vehicles of the candidates during the process.
Yesterday’s election morning was marked by the detonation of weapons that disrupted the start of operations. This state of events sowed panic and psychosis among the population. However, towards the end of the morning, some people were able to vote in Bambari centre and Bria. On the other hand, there were no votes in some sub-prefectures or localities such as Ippy, Grimari, Ngakobo, Kouango and Bokolobo.
Diocese of Alindao
Generally speaking, in the Basse-Kotto prefecture, there was just one polling station that opened in Mobaye centre. The threats from Ali Darass’ UPC elements were such that most localities and sub-prefectures did not experience this event. The situation remains really critical. Since this morning, UPC elements have started the recovery of the Patents in the locality of Poudjio: 20000 fr cfa for people who have motorbikes, pulp mills and cassava mills. To be continued!
Diocese of Bangassou
More or less stable and calm situation. In Bakuma and part of Rafaï, the population did not vote because of the presence and threats of armed groups. However, there was a vote in the rest of the other sub-prefectures. There is still panic and psychosis among the population of Bangassou and Bakouma. In Banagassou, part of the population has found refuge in the neighbouring town of Ndoun in Democratic Congo. The formerly displaced persons from the site of the Minor Seminary are occupying the place again, for fear of exactions. This movement is caused by reports of an attack on the town by armed groups from Rafaï and Bakouma in recent days. In Bakouma, the city is almost deserted; the majority of the population has found refuge in the bush.
Diocese of Kaga-Bandoro
The situation is still tense since last week with the various clashes that took place in Dékoa and the outskirts of Sibut. Voting was able to take place in some localities, even in Kaga-Bandoro, despite disturbances or threats from armed groups. On the other hand, in Mbrès and Ndjoukou, the vote did not take place because of the presence and threats of armed groups. The latter burst into Ndjoukou last week. In recent days, the armed groups have also been reported in Galafondo, bypassing the loyal forces.
Diocese of Berbérati
In general, the voting went well throughout the diocese and in a calm atmosphere. There was just one incident in Carnot where a group of criminals broke into the premises to recover and burn all the electoral material prepared for the counting operations. For the past few hours, there have been reports of incursions by armed groups into the locality of Gamboula.
Father Alain-Bienvenu BANGBANZI
National Executive Secretary of Caritas Central African Republic