Bangui (Agenzia Fides) – “Since the beginning of 2016 my diocese has been continuously under LRA attack and nobody talks about it”, denounces to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou in the south-east of the Central African Republic. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a guerrilla group of Ugandan origin that has raged in the area for years, but in recent weeks has intensified attacks against civilians.
“We have been attacked everywhere for over a month. The LRA has attacked more than six villages in the area. Here in Bangassou we have welcomed many displaced people who fled from Niakari area (15 km from Bangassou, ed.), where the diocese has a place of pilgrimage. In Niakari, last week, the LRA abducted and beat up the residents. Three days ago I went to Bakouma, where on January 21, the local mission had been ransacked (see Fides 25/01/2016), and I brought with me the two nuns and seminarians who were operating there. The LRA group that ransacked the Bakouma mission almost certainly enjoyed the complicity of a Seleka group, the former Central African rebellion. For over two hours the nuns and seminarians were at the mercy of some fifteen armed men”, refers Mgr. Aguirre.
“What hurts me the most is that nothing is said about what happens in Bangassou, but we report the news such as the arrest of one of the LRA leaders, Okot Odek, who was captured far from Bangassou, in the north of the Country”, said the Bishop.
“Odek is a boy who had been kidnapped by the LRA and then became a criminal leader of this group. But there are several other LRA leaders who continue to hassel us”, concludes Mgr. Aguirre.
According to press reports, Okot Odek was captured by the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique (FPRC), who then handed him over to US forces sent to Central Africa to hunt LRA fighters.
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(L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 10/02/2016)