Further advances by rebels in CAR

For several years the Central African Republic has experienced civil unrest with various groups opposing the particular government of the day. A ceasefire was agreed in recent weeks but now FIDES, the Vatican News Agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, reports that hostilities between the forces of President François Bozizé and the rebels of the Seleka coalition have restarted. Unconfirmed reports say that the rebels are now just 80 km from Bangui.

The SMA have about 15 missionaries in the country. We also have nearly a dozen priests of CAR origin, working in their homeland or in other parts of Africa. According to a reliable source three towns in Bossangoa diocese have been taken by the rebels as they push towards Bangui: Bossangoa, Bouca and Batangafo. The bishop of Bossangoa diocese is an SMA member, Rt Rev Nestor Nongo-Aziagbia. There are no reports of any damage to diocesan property, churches or schools though one Convent was looted by the local people. The rebels were not involved though they did attack public infrastructure as they advanced.

According to FIDES, “the rebels accuse the President of not respecting the agreements signed in January in Libreville (Gabon), in particular as regards to the release of political prisoners, the withdrawal of South African and Ugandan troops in the Country, and the integration of its fighters in the ranks of the regular army.” (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2013)