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Central African bishop welcomes arrival of foreign troops

Catholic World News - December 04, 2013

A Spanish missionary bishop in the Central African Republic has welcomed the arrival of French and Congolese peacekeeping forces.

Members of the Séléka rebel coalition assumed power in the nation in March, and Islamist Séléka members, some of them foreigners, have been attacking Christian institutions, raising fears of genocide.

In Bangui, the capital, Séléka forces now “seem to be on the run,” said Bishop Juan-José Aguirre Muñoz of Bangassou, with Séléka forces fighting against residents who are defending their property from looting.

In the north, he told the Fides news agency, “several thousand people, mostly Christians, are still refugees in the Catholic missions. In Bouca for example, 30,000 people have found shelter in the Catholic mission, while Muslims do not leave their neighborhood. The displaced are living in fear and suffer from lack of food and medicines.”

In his own southern diocese, he added, tensions between Muslims and Christians are on the wane.

The nation of 5.1 million is approximately 25% Catholic, 25% Protestant, and 15% Muslim; 35% retain indigenous beliefs.

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