The Catholic archbishop and imam of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have issued a joint appeal for a United Nations peacekeeping force, warning that the country is on the brink of war.
Writing in the French newspaper “Le Monde”, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kobine Layama said the CAR “remains on the verge of a war with religious aspects” and that half the population “desperately need aid”. About 40,000 people have taken refuge at Bangui airport where they are living without shelter or sanitary facilities.
Despite the intervention of French and African troops, the two religious leaders called on the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force “with the utmost urgency”.
Meanwhile, Caritas networks have mobilized to bring aid to victims, Fides news agency reported. Catholic Relief Services – Caritas of the United States – working with the support of the French Secours Catholique, has launched a humanitarian program in Bossangoa. The town, in the north of the country, has been the focus of fighting leading to tens of thousands of people taking refuge near the Catholic mission.
The program, which will last until August, will also distribute aid to another site, where the majority of the displaced are Muslims.