A year and a half ago, « La Croix » met Auguste in Kaga Bandoro, in the Central African Republic. He was elected by the displaced from the cathedral camp to represent them. Today, he is a refugee in the camp of the Minusca and, joined by telephone, finds that the tension grows between civilians and armed groups.
The Cross: What is your current situation?
Auguste: I have moved to Kaga Bandoro for three years now. Until the beginning of last year, I lived in a palm-leafed hut that was part of the camp surrounding the city’s cathedral.
And then the camp burned down one night. We rebuilt our huts. But in October 2016, on the 12th to be precise, we all had to take refuge around the Minusca, the UN force that is present at Kaga Bandoro. The bishop’s camp was attacked. There were about 40 victims and two thirds of the site were burned down.
Since October 12, there have been about 20,000 displaced persons in the Minusca, spread over a dozen blocks. I am the leader of Block 3, which includes 3,391 displaced people. There is nobody around the cathedral. We are mostly Christians here in this camp. Mass is said on Sunday inside the Minusca, because there are too many tensions, too many threats to go out in town. The situation is becoming more and more difficult.
Is it a religious problem?
It is above all a problem between civilians and armed groups. First of all. But it happens that here the armed groups belong to the Selekas, mostly Muslims, and that we, displaced, are predominantly Christian.
These armed groups are abusing their strength. They prevent us from going to cultivate our fields. They take away some of us. They put barriers on the outskirts of the city to rackle us. These abuses are multiple and are increasing. We call for the cantonment of these armed groups.
In this climate, it is very difficult to be able to build social cohesion between us Christians and Muslims. How to do it ? We have no access to anything. Neither to education for our children. Neither to health. In this climate, traders from Sudan are often seen selling arms and cartridges. This can not fix the situation. We are delivered to ourselves here. The Minusca does not move and the authorities of Bangui are absent.
Provided by: LaCroix