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Monday, December 5, 2016
Central African Republic: trapped missionaries escape - some choose to stay
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¬†A group of missionaries holed up in a war zone in the Central African Republic since mid-December have arrived safe and sound in Chad, the Missionary News Service reported today. (see ICN 8 January 2003.) Sr Michela di Gregorio of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus said: "We are all well. The journey from Central Africa to Chad was long but in the end satisfactory". The group of around 32 priests and sisters working in different centres around the country fled to Gofo, a small town of the northern Central African Republic when the area was taken over by rebels linked to the former chief of staff FranÁois Bozizť. Around 25 finally left last Thursday in a convoy. The rebels accompanied them to the border with Chad, and they continued the last part of the 250km journey on their own delayed by potholes and roadblacks - arriving this morning. . The missionaries that reached Chad, including Italians, French, Spanish, Polish, Brazilians and Madagascans, stayed last night with missionaries in Sarh. Eight decided to remain in Central Africa. They are: Cappucin friars, Italian Norberto Munari and Damiano Bonori and Italian-French Fr Clemente Maria Scala, 82, a French couple of lay missionaries that run an orphanage in Batangafo and three Comboni Sisters, Silvana Gallerini and Rosaria Donadoni from Italy and Sr Vittoria from Brazil. "They didn't want to leave, they preferred to remain near the people left with nothing", explained Sr Michela. Tomorrow morning the group will depart for Ndjamena, to take care of all the formalities for entering Chad. Some more are thinking of returning to Central Africa, while others will return to their nation of origin.
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