For about 5 years, Catholic Bishop Juan José Aguirre of Bangassou, Central African Republic, has welcomed to his diocese those children who have succeeded in escaping from Joseph Kony, "the tyrant of child soldiers" who has committed serial crimes against humanity along with his so-called Lord's Resistance Army. Kony has kidnapped 300 children so far in the Central African forest and together with his guerillas kill, assault, rape and torture people. Young girls are brutalized and raped for years by the group.
“When they manage to escape they are traumatized, terrified and with no self-esteem. Many are also pregnant," said Bishop Aguirre, who is originally from Spain.
Bishop Aguirre pointed out that everyone expects Kony to be arrested along with his soldiers. The bishop, together with priests and religious women who work in the diocese, continue to risk their lives without any form of protection, even after reportedly witnessing murders and rapes committed against children by the LRA. And in support of the diocese, the Fundación Bangassou was established in Cordoba, in Spain's Andalusian region, with the help of Bishop Aguirre. The foundation has helped in funding 25 major projects, including the distribution of powdered milk intended for children who cannot be breastfed by their mothers because they have died or have AIDS.
According to the Fides news service, other projects include the “Good Samaritan” home for the terminally ill AIDS patients, a leper colony, a children's ward and a center for malnourished children. The foundation has provided a school run by the pupils’ parents for each mission. There are already about eight thousand children who are attending school in the diocese. The "Orphans" project cares for 1,100 children, who are affected due to AIDS at the 'Mama Tongolo' orphanage.