CAR: Despite renewed violence, Pope Francis will still visit and 'bless every Central African'

Reuters

Pope Francis still plans to visit the Central African Republic, despite a bout of renewed violence in the capital, Bangui.

Clashes began on 26 September and have caused more than 40,000 people to flee their homes, according to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Despite the unrest, the Pope has said that he still hopes to "personally meet and bless each and every Central African" during his trip in November.

People have fled to churches and monasteries, where thousands of internal-refugees had already been living for almost two years. Others have fled to refugee camps.

The situation for the refugees is increasingly precarious, following the looting of a number of humanitarian facilities including Carita, whose employees are now among the displaced people.

This most recent unrest has killed over 40 people and resulted in 800 inmates escaping prison.

"More than ever, this country needs our prayers, our help and our attention," according to Christine du Coudray, head of the Africa section for ACN.

She said the Pope's future visit is a "sign of hope for a better and more peaceful future."

Coudray said: "We hope and pray that this hope will not be dashed," adding that Western powers and aid agencies must "do everything within the realms of possibility to ensure that the country does not descend once more into a spiral of violence and chaos."