News / Africa

Amnesty: Christian Militias on Rampage in Rural CAR

Muslim women and children take refuge in St. Pierre Church in Boali, Central African Republic, on January 23 as anti-Balaka Christians and Seleka militias loot and kill civilians.
Muslim women and children take refuge in St. Pierre Church in Boali, Central African Republic, on January 23 as anti-Balaka Christians and Seleka militias loot and kill civilians.
Kim Lewis
Amnesty International reports escalating violence in the northwestern region of Central African Republic as anti-Balaka Christian militias continue looting and killing the elderly, women and children in Muslim communities.
 
Senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International tells VOA that the Central African Republic continues to deteriorate as civilians seek refuge from on-going violence.
 
Rovera says new evidence underscores the extreme dangers faced by Muslim women, children and the elderly who are being slaughtered by Christian anti-Balaka militias. 
 
Listen to interview with Donatella Rovera
Listen to interview with Donatella Roverai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

In the center of a sectarian conflict

“The situation is extremely tense here in Bouar and in the nearby town of Baoro and other places where the international peacekeeping forces are not present,” Rovera reports today by telephone from Bouar, which is in the center of the sectarian conflict in the west of the country.
 
“Yesterday, as we were driving to Baoro we met a large group of anti-Balaka Christian militias who told us that they were on their way to attack the town of Baoro. 

Rwandan peacekeepers remove lucky charms from a suspected anti-Balaka Christian carrying a rifle and a grenade in a Muslim market in Bangui.Rwandan peacekeepers remove lucky charms from a suspected anti-Balaka Christian carrying a rifle and a grenade in a Muslim market in Bangui.
x
Rwandan peacekeepers remove lucky charms from a suspected anti-Balaka Christian carrying a rifle and a grenade in a Muslim market in Bangui.
Rwandan peacekeepers remove lucky charms from a suspected anti-Balaka Christian carrying a rifle and a grenade in a Muslim market in Bangui.
“There were more of these militia members on the way out of Baoro.  We know that they have already received more members from other parts of the governate, and more are coming this way.” 

Anti-Balaka militias – balaka is a local term for machete – formed to oppose predominantly Muslim Seleka forces. Seleka rebels under the command of Michel Djodotia over-threw the regime of President Francoise Bozize last year. The Seleka forces refused Djotodia’s orders to disarm and the violence began. Djotodia recently resigned and a transitional president, Mrs.Catherine Samba-Panza, was named last week. 
 
There are now an estimated 1,500 French peacekeepers in the former French colony and more than 5,000 African Union peacekeepers from countries in the region.
 
Peacekeepers offer no protection in remote areas
 
Amnesty declares that peace-keeping forces are not going into the most dangerous areas to protect civilians, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
 
Rovera said the people of the Bouar have absolutely no protection from the attacks because the international peace-keeping forces are not present in these remote towns in the northwest.
 
“The French troops do not get this far north,” she says. “They go elsewhere. 
 
“The African Union peace-keeping forces are in this area, but they just mainly patrol the main roads and do not go into some of the towns where their presence is sorely needed, and where it would make a huge difference,” says Rovera. “Where it could really save lives.”
 
The Amnesty International senior crisis adviser says given the number of peacekeepers on the ground, they should be going into the areas where protection is needed the most. However, she says they are largely staying in the main parts of the nation.
 
“We see large convoys with hundreds of troops going up and down the road. We found them in the market buying snacks, but they don’t go enough into the town. 
 
“Basically, they need to get out of their barracks more,” she says.  “They need to get off the main roads more and into the town. 
 
"And they need to stay where civilians are in imminent threat,” exclaims Rovera.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: George 1349 from: UK
January 27, 2014 8:45 PM
Why was the world quiet when the Muslims were butchering the Christians? Now is pay back time and rightly so. The world needs to wake up to the evil that is Islam everywhere before we are all butchered like Gunner Lee Rugby (London 2013). Every warzone in the world is because of Islam.
In Response

by: Peter from: Europe
January 31, 2014 12:51 AM
well, Gorge I desagree ,remeber when 150,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Serbian Christians in Bosnia(EU and West did not care at all,they even gave Serbs their own Republic that is founded on ground of murder and genocide within Bosnia) , and Russians killed Muslims by hundreds of thousands in Caucauses and southern Russian Republiks. Muslims are also killed, so are Christians and other groups in all these civil wars that are product of pos-colonial world that graet powers of the world (EU,USA ,France UK) dont do much about and UN is powrless organization just like in the case of Bosnia,Rewanda,Syriya,Iraq,Egypat and there is hopfully no more ...let hope for peace,justice and prosperity for all.
In Response

by: Fares from: UK
January 28, 2014 2:15 AM
George, really sad to hear that you feel that way. All these conflicts are due to the greed of the few exploiting the uneducated masses by twisting religion and spreading lies. I agree with you that the world needs to wake up to the evil, but of those that wage wars for profit. Ask a Muslim how he feels about the wars raging ar

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More