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Central African Republic - Niem, Jan 02, 2014

Peace in Central Africa

At the beginning of this new year 2014 we have just received a worrying  piece of news from Niem, Central African Republic, where there is a mission post of our Betharramite missionaries. Fr Tiziano Pozzi, Regional Vicar has just sent in this report... Writes Fr Tiziano Pozzi, Regional Vicar...

Peace in Central Africa

Niem, december 28

Dear friends,
Unfortunately this morning the worst has happened:  the anti-Balaka troops entered Niem and killed 3 Muslims and wounded six others, all Muslims. Four are still hospitalized here. As I write, 4 pm, the village is completely deserted. All the inhabitants, and I do mean all, have fled to the bush and many have left their belongings in the custody of the mission. There is an incredible silence...
This morning, while we celebrated the Holy Mass a stray bullet fell on our church piercing the roof but without injuring anybody...
At 8 pm I start writing again Unfortunately, the death toll has risen to five. In fact, the Seleka, as usual, entered Niem from Yelewa, 35 km north from here, where they have their head-quarters; while firing wildly, they killed two Gbaya, father and son, simply because they were  returning from the plantation with a machete in hand... With the head of the village I went to recover the bodies and gave them a proper burial.
(...) Now, there is a pin drop silence. Our quarter is almost always deserted. Let's just hope that the night will be quiet.
We are all well, including the Sisters.

December 30
Yesterday was a bit different Sunday.
In the church, the Holy Mass was attended by about forty people, almost all men who had returned to the village during the night to guard their homes.
In particular, the Gospel passage, the flight into Egypt, seemed to have been written right now and not two thousand years ago...
A further note. The MISKA, (the African peacekeeper troops) are stationed at Bouar; although they are aware of what happened at Niem, they have not intervened yet ...
Greetings to all.

Fr Tiziano Pozzi scj"

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