If you keep your ear to the ground for developments in Africa, you probably already know there was some kind of trouble last month in Central African Republic. Likely as not, you heard it was related to the Presidential election in that west African country and that led you to believe that another period of unrest was about to follow. Wrong....
The trouble last month was an unfortunate shooting incident that had only to do with local cattle grazing, not national politics. On that latter front, all is calm; and, at this writing, hunts are proceeding normally across the country. I would have no qualms personally about boarding a plane for Central African Republic today.
As for the shooting incident, it occurred in the Aouk-Sangha hunting block on the border of Chad, where operators have been having problems with cattle herders. The run-in sounds very similar to an incident in Chad two years ago that left PH Alain Lefol injured and resulted in him being jailed for a time before being cleared of wrongdoing. We are indebted to PH Boetie Bothma for the following account of the shooting:
"I just had a very unfortunate incident occur in one of my hunting blocks yesterday, Friday March 18, 2005. One of my PHs - Craigh Hamman - was shot by Chadian cattle herdsmen. He was shot through the right hand and arm with an AK47. Although his wounds were severe (not life threatening), I managed to fly him to Bangui and consequently arranged an emergency charter to evacuate him to Johannesburg for reconstructive surgery to his hand. The prognosis appears to be positive at this time.
"As you can imagine, news of this kind could have dire consequences, not only for Aouk Sangha Safaris, but for the hunting industry in CAR as a whole. Therefore,........(continued)