Bishop Nestor-Desire Nongo Aziagbia of Bossangoa, Central African Republic, speaks with Catholic News Service in Washington Nov. 19. Bishop Nongo said more than 35,000 people are living on the 40-acre diocesan compound in Bossangoa, seeking protection from rebels who are targeting Christians. Photo by Bob Roller, courtesy of Catholic News Service
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(RNS) After months of violence in the Central African Republic, signs of hope emerged following Friday’s (Jan. 10) resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicholas Tiengaye.
But Roman Catholic Archbishop Nestor Desire Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa said that although guns had gone silent, the crisis was far from over.
“The shooting has ceased, but the tensions are still there,” Nongo-Aziagbia said Monday. “Resignation is a first step towards solving the crisis.”
The resignations at a regional summit in neighboring Chad sparked wild celebrations among Christians in the capital, Bangui. The president was a Muslim.
“The politicians must now elect someone who can bring the people together,” said the bishop, adding that it was regrettable the past politicians were only interested in exploiting the country and its people.
But as the president flew to exile in Benin, a tiny nation west of Nigeria, the nearly 1 million people, displaced because of fighting between his Seleka Islamic militia and anti-Seleka Christian militia were crying out for food, water and medicine.
More than 100,000 people are camped at the capital city’s main airport, while thousands are in churches and mosques.
More than 1,000 people have been killed recently in the fighting, which began in March 2013.
The U.N. has appealed for $105 million to increase food distribution to reach 1.25 million people between January to August. This will support churches that have provided some relief.
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