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Musilm and Christian women of the Association Ndoye in Bambari, CAR Musilm and Christian women of the Association Ndoye in Bambari, CAR  (AFP or licensors)

Central African Republic Bishops rally nation to peace as election looms.

CAR’s Catholic Bishops are concerned about the continued proliferation of guns in the country, armed gangs, mercenaries looting mineral resources and a disarmament project yet to be implemented.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City

“Let my People go!” is the latest Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of Central African Republic. It was read in all Churches last Sunday. The Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of Central African Republic comes three months before scheduled Presidential and Parliamentarian elections. The elections are due on 27 December. The Bishops call upon authorities to prepare adequately for the elections.

There are too many weapons in circulation

“The overall security situation in the country continues to be a cause for concern. There are still many weapons in circulation, and the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration and Repatriation ( of armed gangs) has been slow and is yet to be implemented,” the Bishops have said.

The Bishops further say it saddens them greatly to note that armed groups occupy between seventy and eighty per cent of the Central African Republic. Some of the leaders of these gangs are mercenaries who are internationally known. As merchants of war, the presence of mercenaries is not helpful for the prospects of peace in country. The Bishops say mercenaries are only interested in the large-scale looting of the country’s mineral resources.

Peaceful and transparent elections

Worried about an election fall-out that could lead to civil strife, the Bishops have appealed to politicians to “agree on a code of good conduct and its application that will support a credible (electoral) process.” All in all, they ask politicians to ensure peaceful and transparent elections.

According to the observation of the Bishops, the Central African Republic is in a delicate and precarious period that requires wise and responsible leadership.

“The Central African Republic is a country in crisis, in a delicate period of its destiny, requiring wise and courageous, humanistic and responsible leadership in the face of national, regional, continental and international challenges,” the Bishops write.

paul.samasumo@spc.va

08 September 2020, 13:57