It’s been a while since I’ve been able to update you all on what’s been happening in the Central African Republic.
Politically, things seem to be calming down a little bit, at least in Bangui. There have not been any major armed conflicts in the city for about three weeks now. But sporadic gunfire still erupts from time to time. Outside of Bangui, there has been some skirmishes in the north central part of the country between the ex-Seleka fighters and the various militias, making people flee into the bush to escape the violence. There has also been fighting from time to time between the peacekeepers in the country and either the ex-Seleka or the militias.
The U.N. Security Council recently passed a resolution unanimously to authorize the establishment of a U.N. sponsored peacekeeping force for CAR of 12,000 soldiers. This has given the picture a much brighter outlook, however, those troops will not get on the ground there until at least September 2014. In the meantime, the French and African Union forces that number around 6,500 will be kept busy trying to keep the peace.
The interim government seems to have good intentions, but no funding, so their influence is not as strong as it could be. Until stability comes, they will have no way of generating a taxation system, so they will be dependent on foreign aid for the foreseeable future.
Of the nine orphan care groups that we have in Bangui, they are all meeting regularly now, which is a huge praise. Two of the groups (CR002 and CR009) are in a section of the city that seems to have persistent clashes between the militias and Muslims living in that part of town. So for those two groups, the children and their caregivers are sleeping at one of several refuge sites during the night, and then coming back into their neighborhoods during the day.
A good number of private schools at both the elementary and secondary levels are back in session. Many of the public high schools are also functioning, but quite a few public elementary schools still have not started back up in Bangui. In Berberati, it’s a different story with just about every school back in session. We’re thankful for the opportunity for the children in our program in that city to get back to school. Please continue to pray for the schools to open back up in Bangui so all of the children have a chance at an education this school year.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers for the children in our program in CAR! It is truly amazing how God has protected all of them throughout this whole conflict. Praise Him!