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Saturday, January 11, 2014

If the first week of the year is as this one......

Monday and Tuesday, 6th and 7th of January 2014
Two days rather calm. I went downtown to say hi to the Imams and check out the northern sides where some Peuls burnt down few houses, after the suspect of them hosting some Antibalakas....Neighbourhoods were empty, strangely so. And we could witness to the results of Sunday's attacks, there were more than 20 houses burned to the ground. The Red Cross has now certified that on the 6th Deceber the clashes between Selekas and Antibalakas caused more than 100 dead. During the night a child died tonight.Malaria?

Wednesady 8th of January 2014
I was in need of 300 litres of petrol for the antenna's phone company Orange which a mortorbike brought here from Paua. In the afternoon, with this excuse, I went in the outskirts to meet with the Antibalaks, now growing in numbers (400 only here) and more nervous. I presented them with the closing of the schools issue and the lack of food for the city due to closing of markets. Once more the usual refrain: we only want Selekas out of here and all Muslims lay down all weapons....they say after  this they will cease fire and peacefully return to their villages... 
At 6.30 pm they began shooting again downtown, but we are not sure what was going on, we heard heavy weapons fired, then screams of joy (of the Muslim side). Afterwards they told us that a Selekas general came here from Bangui, to reinforce the Bozoum's contingent. there are 6 to 10 cars and new rebels. No comment!

Thursday the 9th of January 2014
No shootings during the night, in the morning I went to the hospital and while I was there, about 50 Peuls armed of machetes, bows and 3 or 4 kalachnikovs are crossing the hospital grounds.they were going to the Ouhgam, the river, where the Selekas were. they went there to help out chasing the Antibalakas
Despite the distance, We heard shootings and about midday a huge smoke came from that direction: probably Slekas burned down villages over 5.30 pm the new Selekas arrived. There was a Police DGA and other Selekas from Ciad and Car. We had a meeting with them and few refugees attended as well.
They said they wanted people to go back home. We listened and then i took the floor. I told him since more than a month there are 3000 refugees at the Mission, they're very tired. They all want to go home, however, safety is needed. they're always threatened by the Selekas attacks and vendettas, they are afraid of Muslims who got weapons.
Also a man and a woman spoke, they were woried, scared and afraid of the Selekas. After few good opinions exchange we agreed to meet again the following day. Nevertheless we managed to talk. I even got a rise out of a Seleka, who was threatening some people to keep them at a distance. I told him to stop, because I do not allow certain behaviours. He leered at me the whole time. How many will stay? and, if they leave, will the Antibalakas come back? Finally: people don't trust them and one thing is for sure, until Selkas are here they won't go back home.

Friday 10th of January 2014
7.30 am: we were ready for the meeting. However, after 1 hour nobody showed up so we left.Eventually, at 9 the Selekas and the Imams arrived and we began the meeting. The police general, Adoum Rakis (!) spoke. He said they came for peace for everyone, that the government is really worried for Bozoum, that people should go home...bla,bla,bla.
People spoke, asking for guarantees, for people to be left alone, for Selekas to leave. they also asked why Peuls and Muslims have not been disarmed.
the "General" told they they had 2 names of civilian owing kalashnikovs (we have a list with more than 55 names.....)
I reminded that the main issue here are the Selekas, not the Antibalakas: if they leave, the Antibalakas will lay down their weapons and go back to farming. We also insisted on abuses that have been carried out. As a sign of cooperation the Selekas then released Ngaina Jerome, a catechist arrested on Wednesday, accused of being an Antibalaka, tortured almost to death....
Afterwards we discovered that few Selekas came in some of the villages as the  Fomac forces, confusing the people.
After the meeting we received news of president Michel Djotodjia and prime minister resigning. People were cautios, but there was a bit of joy in the air....
At 3 pm i went with the Red Cross up to the villages on the road to Paua and Bocaranga, where they fought yesterday, thankfully there were little deceased, however the Selekas vendetta reached and burned 440 houses out of 520 in the villages of Pont Ouham, Doussa, Camp 5 e Boyele.....what pain to see everything burned to the ground, and all the crop destroyed.
One singolar episode: in Boyele, a catechist locked his house with a padlock and a rosary: the Selekas left it untouched.
Tomorrow, if everything is ok, I will go check out the other villages on the way to Bangui.

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