In these days I was in Bangui for few meetings. On Thursday morning we set off, got to PK12 (12th kilometer: the main gate to get in and out of the capital) and the Seleka rebels demanded our ordre de mission. I wasn't ok with this but we gave it to them. they stamped and signed it. In the meanwhile they wanted to search our car. i told them the only authority that could do that was the law enforcement agency (just across the street)
if THEY want to search us it's ok but the rebels NO.
Once the papers are in order we were ready to leave, a random guy just got there, he had no badge, insisting on searching us. I refused and left. Just after 500 meters they stopped me, i saw in the rear mirror a motorbike approaching, with one of them rebels standing on top of it, with a rifle in his arms. i stopped. he got to me and drew the rifle at me, intimating to go back. there were a lot of people there so i told him to leave me time. he started to get back and shot to our tyre. then he shot in the air and demanded that i reversed back. I got out of the car and saw two flat tyre. tried to calm him down and make him understand it's not possible to move a car when it has flats. in the meantime i notice they were carrying away a woman that got injured from a loose bullet.
thankfully as we're arguing a police patrol from RCA and Congo passed by. i stopped and asked for their help, saying there's a crazy armed man shooting and who keeps threatening. They get out of the car and tried to calm him and numerous people around down. We changed our tyre, went back and went to the police to draw our statement. During this time we managed to make different calls. soon after that the general director of the police, a colonel from the home office got here. they arrested the shooting guy, and we were asked for another statement in a different office.
nevertheless the rebels chief, once this was over, insisted to search us. the general director, quite frustraded (it's been months of humiliations from the Seleka rebels) eventually agreed. asked me what's in the car. "4 boxes of paint and our personal baggage" I said. so he told the rebels' chief (without having searched for anything) that the search was over....
We left, went to buy 2 new tyre and about 11 am we set off again.
Detective story's scene
The minister of Elevage insisted to accompany us to the PK 12. Joined us and so we left. but down the road, a car with no plate, a closed Land Cruiser, black screen, got between our car and the minister's. We overtook them. the ministers stopped and we talked. they overtook us. we set off again and they overtook us again. The minister stopped so we went back.
we're all afraid that they'll vindicate today. they do big business with the barrier at PK12. We put that in danger today...
International Schemes' scene
On Thursday and Friday we tried to leave the city. but we needed security and it's rather difficult to organize it. there is a plane of ONU's forces, but it will be here on ly by Tuesday. and they wouldn;t get as far as Bozoum....We could try another road. but is very long and unsafe....we gave in on waiting.
Spy story's scene
On Saturday morning it rained. After prayers and Mass I told to my traveling companions we could take advantage of the bad weather and try to get out of there. Everyone's ok with the plan. We get Joseph (our driver) and his wife and we set off. I wore sunglasses and a sweater. Got to PK12. Joseph got out of the car to sign (and to illegally pay 1000 f cfa) then they wanted to search the car, Joseph agreed, despite the lashing rain. As they began to search, a police guy told the rebel they are not authorized to search: the Minister has ordered only police to search the Mission and Organism's vehicles. The rebel doesn't listen. but this means something is changing.
After 10 minutes, with steamed screen, someone shouts Father Aurelio is in the car! Panic! thankfully it was a police guy that only recognized Father Stefano and said hi. and they let us go!
Why is this all happening? It's unbelievable that the entrance into the capital is let at the rebel's mercy. they behave as cow-boys. It's crazy that people must still endure all these tyrannies and injustice. It's impossible to believe this State cannot do its duty, and lets insane people shoot in daylight in the open in one of the crowdiest places in town
I really hope this event and the risk we took will serve to change something.....