AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "The people of Bangassou are terrorized by armed bandits" denounces the local Bishop

Bangui - "I would love to be with my people in this difficult moment but I am stuck in Bangui" says to Fides Agency Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, from the capital of the Central African Republic. The Country is still in chaos after the conquest of Bangui by the rebel coalition Seleka and the flight of President François Bozizé. "A group of bandits who pass themselves off as Seleka rebels are tormenting the people of my diocese," denounces Mgr. Aguirre. "In Rafai from Good Friday to Easter Sunday they sowed terror among the people, looting their homes. Among other things, they stole four cars from the local Catholic mission. Now they have moved to Bangassou where people live in fear.""I wish I could be there with my people -continues the Bishop - but planes cannot land in Bangassou because the airport has no fuel. The road that leads to Bangassou has been closed since December. As a result, since then in the territory of the diocese, food or medicines do not arrive, officials have not been paid because they have to travel to Bangui to collect them, and they cannot pay school fees for children, and so on.""Until we have restored the security conditions this situation cannot be resolved," says Mgr. Aguirre who points out that: "It is easy for a local gang to pass themselves off as Seleka and one does not know who you are dealing with if simple criminals or rebels" ."Men of Seleka who seized power in Bangui are trying to restore order. But even in the capital it is hard to sleep during the night due to the continuous bursts of automatic weapons that the different gangs exchange. Some progress has been made, however, from the first days of the conquest of Bangui by Seleka. We hope for an improvement of the security situation," the Bishop concluded.