French and U.N armoured vehicles and tanks jostle with taxis on the streets of Bangui as security is heightened for the arrival of Pope Francis. Paul Chapman reports.
The congested streets of the Central African Republic's capital are even busier as tanks and armoured vehicles mingle with normal traffic ahead of the Pope's arrival. Since 2013 the country's been locked in a conflict that's descended into inter-religious bloodshed. The pontiff's visit's being welcomed both by the majority Christian population and the Muslim minority. The country's interim president says the arrival of Pope Francis could mark a turning point. (SOUNDBITE)(French) CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC INTERIM PRESIDENT CATHERINE SAMBA-PANZA SAYING: "People from Central Africa know that the Pope is a messenger for peace, and the people from Central Africa hope that the messages he will deliver will turn into a national wake-up call and a new awareness so that the people of Central Africa accept each other again, learn how to live together again, and move together towards peace and rebuilding." Uncertainty over the Pope's safety has meant that his exact itinerary for the final leg of his first official African tour is in some doubt. The U.N. peacekeeping mission there was expected to put up to 4, 000 extra troops on the streets. They're being backed by 500 armed police and a fleet of new surveillance drones and observation balloons.