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“Genocide Is Probably Exaggerated, but Anything Could Happen,” Says Missionary

UN Photo/Tim McKulka

Agenzia Fides - published on 11/22/13

A Carmelite working in the Central African Republic comments on a statement made by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs that "Central Africa is on the brink of a genocide."

"The term is probably exaggerated, but it is true that tension is so high that no one knows how the situation will evolve," says Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, a Carmelite who works in Bozoum in the Central African Republic, commenting on the statement made today by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius according to whom "Central Africa is on the brink of a genocide."

"Tension is undoubtedly very high, especially in the capital Bangui, where," says Fr. Aurelio, "for almost three weeks shootings, murders, clashes of various kinds have occured every day, in a different neighborhood. I have recently returned from Bangui and the general feeling is that an external intervention is being prepared that is putting into crisis those belonging to Seleka."

French military sources say that a ship of the Marine Nationale is sailing to the port of Douala (Cameroon) carrying reinforcements for the French troops already deployed in Central Africa. In addition, the United States have declared their readiness to support UN sanctions against those who were responsible for crimes against civilians in the Central African Republic and announced the allocation of $ 40 million in favor of the African peacekeeping force sent to the Country.

"In Bozoum the situation is slightly better but tension remains high because anti Balaka militia attacks (who are fighting against Seleka former rebels who took power in March) are feared. In addition, the men of Seleka appear very agitated," added the missionary.

"We are increasing contacts with Muslims to try to avoid accidents among the different components of the local population," concludes Fr. Aurelio.

Originally published by Agenzia Fides on 21 November 2013.

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