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CAR Archbishop Urges International Community to Stop Violence

Ahead of Pope’s Visit to War-Afflicted Nation, Archbishop of Bangui Condemn’s Being ‘Passive’

The archbishop of the Central African Republic’s war-afflicted capital of Bangui says the country’s authorities must take on their responsibility to mitigate the suffering of the population.

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga made this appeal in an interview with the Réseau des Journalist pour le Droit de l’Homme, commenting on the violence that has affected the nation and especially that which has recently hit the town of Bambari, reported Fides.

This November, Pope Francis will visit Africa. He will arrive in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi on Nov. 25, where he will stay for two days, before traveling to Uganda’s capital of Kampala and lastly Bangui.

The government of the Central African Republic has strongly condemned the latest clashes in Bambari in which 20 people died and several others were injured, including humanitarian workers of the International Red Cross.

In the interview, the archbishop of Bangui alluded to the UN Mission in Central Africa and to the French Sangaris which were accused of various abuses, including that some of its military allegedly committed sexual violence against Central African children. “Even the international community that works here has to take on its responsibility so that violence does not increase but is reduced as much as possible,” he said, noting, “Sometimes, one gets the impression that it is rather passive or unable.”

The insecurity throughout the African nation and delays in voter registration forced the transition authorities to postpone the constitutional referendum, scheduled for Oct. 4. The presidential and legislative elections, set for Oct.18, will likely be pushed back as well.  On this, the archbishop said, “If those who are responsible for organizing the elections tell us that it is not possible to carry out elections, it is pointless to go through the pain of suffering frustrations and injustices”.

As an alternative, Archbishop Nzapalainga proposed “getting together to define a new calendar.”

“It is necessary to be realistic,” he stressed, “so that we can honestly and reasonably postpone elections in order to have elections that get us out of the crisis.” 

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