Local Priest, Father Aurelio Gazzera, the bishop of St. Michael Parish, has initiated mediation efforts in an attempt to install peace in the torn village of Bozoum, in the Central African Republic (CAR). Gazzera has formed a ‘‘Committee of the Wise,’’ which serves to settle disputes, and a ‘‘Mediation Committee’,’ composed of Christian and Muslim clerics and other members of civil society, which meets every day to assess the ongoing situation. Despite widespread difficulties, Gazzera says the crisis that has afflicted the CAR since Islamic militants ousted from a 9-month coup in December has led to new, hopeful dynamics within Bozoum’s population.
07/01/2014 Central African Republic (World Watch Monitor) – Despite the Central Africa Republic (CAR)’s increasing level of chaos, a glimmer of hope has been developing in its northern city Bozoum – which is peaceful and prosperous – thanks to mediation efforts.
This city of about 26,000 inhabitants enjoys a relative calm which ensures the functioning of vital services such as the hospital, schools, market, thanks to mediation efforts of people of good will, under the leadership of an Italian priest, Father Aurelio Gazzera, the bishop of St. Michael Parish of Bozoum.
Since Seleka rebels took over power in March 2013, numerous armed men claiming to be from the Seleka rebels or opposing anti-Balaka militia have been looting and committing other forms of abuse against the population, in Bangui and elsewhere across the country.
”It became clear that the tension between the Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka militias could be detrimental to everyone”, said Gazzera. “Thus it’s become necessary to take action to stop the violence against civilians.”
Gazzera has a wealth of knowledge of CAR, a country where he has been living for about twenty two years. His mediation approach is focused on dialogue with different groups: armed men and community leaders. It aims to present and discuss grievances while trying to confront perpetrators with the results of their actions.