From Fr. Patrick Mbea C.S.Sp., Spiritan Superior in the country.
Some indications of what is going on in Bangassou where we have a community. Fr René També came here yesterday by aeroplane from Bakouma, which is 120km from Bangassou. When Bangassou was attacked he was at Niakari and fled to Bakouma on a motorbike. He came to Bangui by plane because he said the rebels were looking for
him to get his vehicle. Thank God that he got out safe and sound. I am very worried about our properties and goods at Bangassou and Niakari – the Maison Maanicus, Daniel Brottier school and the dispensary at Niakari, because there are no more confreres on the spot. If the humanitarian flights begin again to Bangassou, I hope to go and see what the situation is. The bishop, Mgr. Aguirré and his Vicar General are blocked in Bangui. The cathedral in Bangassou has been literally pillaged, all the vehicles stolen. René hid his vehicle in the bush near Ndanda; maybe the rebels will eventually find it, but that is not the most important thing at the moment. They carried off Théo’s RAV4. Not having the keys, which were with Fr.Kotaingo in Bangui, they pushed it to the Total station probably with a view to getting spare parts off it. René sent a young boy of Niakari on a bicycle to go into his room to collect some personal effects. When the boy was coming out of the room , the rebels caught him. They sacked René’s room, the community room and the store, carrying batteries and everything else away. At the moment there is total confusion; we do not know when we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The international community must do something to save what can be saved. It is not normal for them to remain spectators faced with such a human drama. Where is the sense of belonging to the international community ? This situation is not just a problem of central Africa. There is pressure from outside from groups whose ambitions are not clearly defined; they are composed of uncontrolled groups who enlist young people whom they find along the way. At Bangassou and Niakari they even enlisted young people from the parish groups, forcing them to reveal where the priests were, as well as their vehicles, houses, belongings and money. There is only the international community and the other bodies concerned with human rights which can exert some pressure to put an end to this murderous madness; all these organisations are to be found in Bangui – but what are they doing ?
Fr. Patrick Mbea C.S.Sp.