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CAR: Bishops Condemn Continued Rebel Attacks

Catholic Bishops of the Central African Republic on Sunday met in a plenary session and issued a communiqué denouncing rebel attacks across the country and congratulating the citizens who braved the fighting to go out and vote in the December 2020 legislative and presidential elections.

The nine bishops condemned the divisions within the political class and accused them of abandoning the country “at the mercy of predators and mercenaries.” 

Rev. Nestor Desire Nongo Aziagbia, the Bishop of Bossangoa, situated 300km  to the north of Bangui, the national capital, said: “Today, the country, unfortunately, lives at the expense of angry politicians whom I would not say are corrupt but we are not far away from this reality.” 

Aziagbia said, “Everybody wants to assert his authority and not for the good of the population, not for the socio-economic development of the nation. 

“People hobnob with persons of doubtful morality in order to continue exploiting the country. In all that, the population is held hostage.

“To these politicians and to these armed groups, we tell them that the Central African Republic is not the property of an individual, a clan or any interest group.”

The bishop noted that it had been eight years since “we have been living with the politico-military crises,” adding that “Several propositions for getting out of the crises through different accords have been concluded but we remain on the same spot. 

“We have in our message called for dialogue but this dialogue must be frank and fraternal. How many times has dialogue been held but nobody takes into account the resolutions of these dialogues? That is what we lack today.” 

Meanwhile, despite some level of calm within the periphery of Bangui after incessant attacks by rebels, fear continues to reign among civilians who braved the clashes and remained in their homes.

“Since 5a.m. we have been hearing the blaring of bus horns, vibrations of motorbikes and taxis which are on the highway,” Aboubakar,  a resident in the north of the capital, told HumAngle by telephone on Sunday evening.

“There is practically nothing happening there. There is total calm,”  Aboubakar said.

In various quarters, passersby speak in low voices. Jean, who accepted to talk to newsmen while hiding behind the wall of his house covered with bullet holes,  said: “It was terrible here last Wednesday. In the house there, you would find a bullet which hit the room where the children sleep. We are afraid. It is terrible.”

There are signs of fighting all over the quarters. Up in the branches of a tree, there is a rocket launched between the branches. 

Not far away from the residence of Rodrigue, another resident, there are signs a catastrophe was missed by the breadth of a hair. There is a large hole on the ceiling of his house and on the wall where a bazooka shell had penetrated.

“It entered through the wall on the other side of the house and fell on the bed where the children slept. We feared for the children and the women so we always hid them under the beds,” Rodrigue told HumAngle.

“We have now put them out of danger in the quarters where there has been relative calm. I am here just to watch over my property because bandits have been having feast days stealing the properties in abandoned houses,” he added.

Some families started returning to PK11 on Saturday but some other families prefer remaining in the centre of Bangui for the fear of another outbreak of hostilities.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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