Fides report: The new President of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, was sworn in today, 23 January in a country ravaged by fighting between former Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka militia. While the situation has often been described as a conflict between religions, Christian and Muslim leaders in the country say the crisis came about because of the collapse of state institutions.
The Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga and the Imam, Oumar Kobine Layama, President of the Central African Islamic community, are currently on a tour of the European capitals to ask for help and support for their country.
The Archbishop and the Imam who have made several joint visits to churches and mosques where thousands of displaced people have found shelter, report that while the situation in Bangui is relatively under control, the rest of the country is at the mercy of Seleka and anti-Balaka militias.
Welcoming the election of President Samba-Panza, Mgr Nzapalainga said the new Head of State is faced with a daunting task because the state administration has fully collapsed.
"Out of 36 ministries, only two work, defense and administration of the territory", the Archbishop told AFP. "The State has failed. The administration with men and means needs to be rebuilt, in order for the country to be a State".
The two religious leaders are demanding that the African military mission currently deployed in the country becomes part of a larger force under UN protection, in order to secure the whole country. Currently there are 6,000 French soldiers in Central Africa. This is too few to control a country as vast as France and Luxembourg, said Mgr Nzapalainga.