Bangui zwischen Weihnachten und Neu-Jahr oder Let’s not kid ourselves: this is war


gepostet am : 21-01-2014 | von : m_weiss | Kategorie : Gastautor, Mentoren für Afrika, Overseas
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Wir haben lange überlegt, ob wir diesen Artikel veröffentlichen.  Das ist die Situation und es wird nicht dadurch besser, dass man es verschweigt.  Die Menschen in der Zentralafrikanischen Republik benötigen Unterstützung – auch von außen.

Title: "Abwehrhaltung" skyla80 /

There’s no more putting it differently now: this is a state of war.

All-out open warfare, including heavy guns and mortars, randomly flaring up in different parts of the city, helicopters continuously circling above, explosions which cut your digestion. If during the early days of the French troops‘ arrival an apparent and hopeful calm had settled, this has now been replaced by a state of total confusion as to who is battling whom: ex-Seleka rebels, the anti-Balaka militia, the French troops, the African multinational peacekeepers composed of Congolese and Burundians, and their often feared Chadian colleagues, often perceived as not being neutral.

People are desperate,
huddling up in tens of thousands at religious compounds or the improvised internal-displaced camp at the airport. 127.000 people so far have left their homes in Bangui alone, the number keeps increasing daily. One of my staff members spent over a week with his family inside a church trying to sleep on the floor together with 6.000 others. Several other staff members cannot return to their homes without risking their lives, resorting to improvised stays elsewhere or hiding and sleeping in the bush, some have lost relatives. The residence of Cameroon’s ambassador, a mere 100 metres from where we are staying, is filled up with more than 1.000 nationals trying to get out of the country after a few of their countrymen here were slaughtered. A group of Chadian civilians were attacked while trying to leave the city northward probably attempting to regain Chad. 47 of them were massacred, including women and children. We are currently trying to evacuate one other national because he won’t be safe here anymore. I do not expect him to come back.

Money and supplies
are starting to become a problem as banks and shops are obviously closed. Needless to say, Christmas never happened. Schools, which before the attack of December 5th had finally found a certain regularity in remaining open and being attended, have been closed since, totalling less than 4 months open this year. You keep seeing entire families on the road, pushing a cart with their entire belongings, or those they could fetch, to some safer place, leaving their home behind knowing it will most probably be pillaged, destroyed or both.

The current outlook
is grim, but also utterly unpredictable. We went from seeing corpses with slit throats lined up by the dozens, to almost normality and back to hiding from bullets again, in a matter of 2 weeks. The current tension and feelings of hatred and vengeance will be hard to ever reconcile.

The good news is
we have a great team in place and are currently, in addition to the massive regular projects elsewhere in the country (hospitals plus their respective regional coverage), running and assisting two more here in Bangui giving life-saving assistance, as well as supporting the several camps of displaced people and fighting potential measles and cholera outbreaks. All this with the obvious and also the unforeseeable difficulties, risks and sometimes even threats surrounding the mission.

Foto: "Glücksgefühl" skyla80 / Quelle:

You could almost say we are doing little miracles here.

(Gastautor: Gordon Finkbeiner 27 December 2013 at 01:44  / Fotos:  „Abwehrhaltung“ , „Glücksgefühl“ skyla80 / Fotobearbeitung: M. Weiss/ Quelle: