BY Ian Dunn | December 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass in Barthelemy Boganda Stadium in Bangui, Central African Republic, Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-BANGUI-PEACE Nov. 30, 2015.

African Papal visit prompted peace pact between armies

Reports say opposing Muslim and Christian forces brokered deal in the Central African Republic ahead of visit to ensure the Pope Francis’ safety

Two violent armed factions in the Central African Republic—one largely Muslim and the other largely Christian—signed a secret non-aggression pact in advance of Pope Francis’ trip to the country to ensure his safety, according to a new report.

Italian news-site Vatican Insider revealed details of the deal yesterday, showing the Popes ability to influence international affairs.

The Central African Republic has been torn by violence since 2013, when the largely Muslim faction known as Seleka seized the capital of Bangui and effectively deposed the government. They have been then opposed by a largely Christian militia known as the anti-Balaka.

Although the two groups signed a ceasefire in 2014, violent skirmishes had continued with the Pope’s visit in doubt right up to the day before he travelled.

Security measures taken at that landing were among the highest ever seen on a Papal trip, with armored tanks with mounted heavy guns, bulletproof-vested guards, and even ride-along escorts of rifled soldiers in the Vatican press buses plus the high visibility of  UN peacekeeper.

According to the report, the two armed factions signed the non-aggression pact two weeks prior to the visit in order to stop violence in advance of the Holy Father’s visit.

 

—ian@sconnews.co.uk

 

Pic: Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass in Barthelemy Boganda Stadium in Bangui, Central African Republic. Increased security can be seen in the background lining the streets.

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