Pope's Central African Republic visit could be cancelled

Pope Francis may call off his visit to Central African Republic if violence doesn't end

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Pope Francis arrives for the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican this week

Updated Nov 2, 2015

Pope Frances on Sunday stated that his arranged visit to the Central African Republic could be called off if the violence between Christians and Muslims proceeds to worsen.

During a gathering in St. Peter’s Square, the pope called for an end to the “cycle of violence” in the country that he’s due to visit on Nov. 28-29, as the journey will also take him to Kenya and Uganda.

 Francis speaking on trip said it’s the “trip I hope to be able to make to that nation.”

According to Aljazeera, a senior Vatican source said the phrasing was chosen due to the escalated violence in the capital Bangui, where the pope is anticipated to visit a mosque in one of the most alarming neighbourhoods.

A source said that "if the situation worsens, he will not be able to go and he is aware of that.”

Three negotiators of the Muslim Seleka alliance were killed while on a trip to Bangui for peace talks last week, which brought the death toll from last week to 11.

Mostly-Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in 2013 and Seleka leader Michel Djotodia became president from March 2013 until his resignation in January 2014.

Muslims and Christians have divided into segregated communities across the former French colony since violence started.

Following the Christian Anti-Balaka militants killing thousands of Muslims and destroying their homes, tens of thousands of Muslims have fled to the northern part of the country.

Aside from the pope calling off his visit, the escalating violence may destroy the long-delayed election plans in December.

Interim President Catherine Samba Panza replaced the defence, public security and justice ministers as part of a cabinet change on Thursday.

TRTWorld and agencies