Pope: an African high risk trip
High alert for Pope’s visit to Africa from November 25 to 30. The stages will be Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic, where terror attack risk is high, as confirmed since last two months by the French intelligence.
Despite the 148 dead in Kenyan university last April, Central African Republic causes the Holy See and the French Army, Head of the UN mission there, concern. High alert will be reached on November 29, at the opening of Jubilee of Mercy for Africa. Furthermore, Paris and, in particular, Mali hotel attacks further raise anxiety.
Obvious anxiety in Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin statement: “The Pope wants to go in Africa, even in its most critical stage, Central African Republic, where clashes resumed,” but “if there was ongoing conflicts, it would put Pope and population security at risk. ”
However, this anxiety does not deter the Pope, “ready – as said yesterday – to support interreligious dialogue to promote peaceful coexistence in your country.”
Central African Republic, as other African countries, lives an internal conflict because of civil war begun two and a half ago. Initially, it was not a religious but a political clash between rebels and regular army. After the deposition of President Bozize, this civil war became a religious conflict.
Analyzing the geography of the Central African Republic, the Center-South is more developed and mainly inhabited by Christians, who account for 80% of the total population. The North, however, is less developed and Muslims are in the majority. The lack of attention towards this territory from the capital city of Bangui favored rebels, who poured from aboard and the North of the country.
From 2003 to 2013, the protagonist of the Central African political scene was former President Bozize, twice elected and twice protected by the French army (in 2003 and 2006) during the two civil wars.
The first one (2003-2007) when the politician and soldier Michel Djotodia was his opponent. The second one, despite the cease-fire, in 2012, when presidential guards left him. After the resulting humanitarian crisis, Bozize fled to Cameroon. It was “Seleka”, a coalition of rebel group composed of Central Africans, Chadians and Sudaneses, to expel him.
In 2013, rebels become regular army. However, this new situation caused further clashes in the country, the third civil war since 2003. However, the UN resolution on December authorized France to a military intervention in Central African Republic.
In January 2014 it Catherine Samba-Panza, Christian but neutral, was elected president. She was the first woman to hold the post. Clashes between Muslims and Christians, however, continue to this day.