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CAR Bishops Decry Conditions As ‘a Descent Into Hell’

Says Scattering of Weapons, Banditry is Extremely Dangerous Game

In the wake of civil war in the Central African Republic, the nation’s bishops have decried the many fleeing their homes and villages feeling threatened by bandit groups who have been causing great harm.

The ideal tool to obtain the peace of Christ is dialogue and constructive confrontation, the bishops have said, not “from scattering weapons among the population,” reported Fides.

In the Advent note prepared by the permanent council of the local bishops’ conference and sent to Fides, the bishops say this arms distribution is “an extremely dangerous game, which is not conducive to social cohesion.”

The bishops exhorted security forces to strengthen measures, at a national and international level, to protect civilians.

“The people are still held hostage by armed groups present in the area and occupy the national scene,” they wrote. “The freedom to continue their activities and to respond honestly to their needs is an illusion for many of our compatriots.”

Many, feeling unsafe, flee their homes and villages to take refuge in makeshift camps, such as in Bangui, Bambari, and Batangafo.

Since the beginning of CAR’s civil war, the Bishops have “repeatedly denounced the precarious conditions in which Central Africans find themselves,” saying, “It looks like a descent into hell”.

Even if the rebel coalition Seleka and anti Balaka militias–which are the groups that fought the civil war—have been formally dissolved, they still have created a series of bandit groups that continue to wreak havoc. The Bishops have expressed they are worried about the “the growth of banditry”.

Gangs are responsible for many crimes and kidnappings, including missionaries.

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