January 20, 2014

​Humanitarian aid Needed as Central African Republic Regroups

 ©2014 Religion News Service

After months of violence in the Central African
Republic, signs of hope emerged following the January 10 resignation of interim
President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicholas Tiengaye.

But Roman Catholic Archbishop Nestor Desire
Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa said that although guns had gone silent, the
crisis was far from over.

“The shooting has ceased, but the tensions are
still there,” Nongo-Aziagbia said Monday. “Resignation is a first step towards
solving the crisis.”

The resignations at a regional summit in
neighboring Chad sparked wild celebrations among Christians in the capital,
Bangui. The president was a Muslim.

“The politicians must now elect someone who can
bring the people together,” said the bishop, adding that it was regrettable the
past politicians were only interested in exploiting the country and its people.

But as the president flew to exile in Benin, a
tiny nation west of Nigeria, the nearly 1 million people, displaced because of
fighting between his Seleka Islamic militia and anti-Seleka Christian militia
were crying out for food, water and medicine.

More than 100,000 people are camped at the
capital city’s main airport, while thousands are in churches and mosques.

More than 1,000 people have been killed recently
in the fighting, which began in March 2013.

The U.N. has appealed for $105 million to
increase food distribution to reach 1.25 million people between January to
August. This will support churches that have provided some relief.