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Pope Francis visit a risk as French troops confess they can’t assure his safety in Central African Republic

It is no longer in doubt that the Pope’s next visit destination, Central Africa is a serious war area that have claimed hundreds of lives and rendered over 30, 000 people homeless due to a Christian-Muslim crisis that have held the country bound in serious chaos for long now.

In respect to as whether the Pope will be save when he visits, the international Peacekeepers have confessed to the Christian leaders in Bangui of Central African Republic that they might not be able to guarantee the safety of the Pope when he will visit.

The French government officials opened up saying that they have reportedly pleaded with Vatican to postponed or shorten the Pope’s visit as the country is in serious heat of war that cannot contain the Pope for now.

“We’re full of hope the Holy Father’s presence will bring great benefits by enabling our people to achieve reconciliation; we must respond to this opportunity," said Mgr Cyriaque Gbate Doumalo, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference. “The whole population is now actively preparing itself, and we think we can maintain security at least in the capital, Bangui. For the moment, there’s no reason or justification to place the visit in doubt."

In Catholic News Service interview, Mgr Doumalo said the Vatican’s Bangui-based nuncio, Archbishop Franco Coppola, had assured Church leaders and security officials that the pope would come “despite current anxieties", adding that African military commanders had pledged to reinforce their 9,000-strong UN-backed peacekeeping forces for the event.

“Everything has been agreed and prepared in minute detail for the Holy Father’s arrival, and we’ve no alternative contingency plans. We can’t talk about postponing the visit, since the security teams and working commissions have all done their work. Much of the violence is taking place hundreds of kilometres away, so it can’t be seen as an attempt to sabotage the pilgrimage."

Mgr.Doumalo told CNS in the interview

However, Agence France-Presse said a Paris official had admitted that French troops would not “have the means to ensure security" or manage large crowds during the papal visit. The official added that the government of President Francois Hollande now favoured cancelling the pilgrimage or reducing it to “a few hours only".

A Defence Ministry Official who have chosen to remain anonymous, told AFP that:

We’ve let the Pope know his arrival in the CAR will carry high risks for himself, and particularly for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims coming from Cameroon, Chad and the Congo. Our own forces can secure the airport and provide a medical evacuation capacity for the authorities in case of an accident. But they cannot go any further.

Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, bishops’ conference president told a German broadcaster Deutsche Welle broadcaster that:

Central African Republic is facing a vicious circle of anger and hatred, violence and revenge and have to achieve disarmament and re-establish law and justice to stop certain people thinking they can do anything. It’s like a game of ping-pong: you kill, I kill, as we all descend into death and desolation. We know the Pope is close to us, the poor and unfortunate Central Africans, and will bring comfort and show solidarity, telling us it’s time to set aside our personal and political quarrels, the barbarism and hatred. When he opens the Holy Door in Bangui, he’ll also be opening a door into our hearts, and giving us spiritual, human and political support.


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