News / Africa

Amnesty Says CAR 'Out of Control'

FILE - Child soldiers of the Seleka coalition sits on a pickup truck near the Presidential palace in Bangui, March 25, 2013.
FILE - Child soldiers of the Seleka coalition sits on a pickup truck near the Presidential palace in Bangui, March 25, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Hannah McNeish
— Rights group Amnesty International says the human rights crisis in the Central African Republic is spiraling out of control, with what it calls "unprecedented" levels of gang rapes, torture, executions and the recruitment of thousands of child soldiers. 

The Central African Republic has been plagued by instability since independence from France more than 50 years ago, with coups toppling a series of governments.

But since a coalition of rebels calling themselves Seleka ousted President Francois Bozize and took power in March, lawlessness has dominated, and hundreds of thousands of people have fled increasing violence from so-called "security forces."

Amnesty International’s CAR researcher Godfrey Byaruhanga says that no one has reined in these forces.

“And these killings have continued unabated and continue up to this day.  And the concern is the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of private residencies and public buildings, which has resulted in a lot of civilians injured and maimed.  And a lot of civilians have been beaten and tortured by Seleka soldiers,” he said.

In a damning report released Tuesday, Amnesty documented a series of atrocities.  In one instance, a taxi full of people found with a box of Bozize t-shirts was taken away.  Some inside were tortured, executed and dumped in a river.

In another incidents, a mother was gang-raped for hours by Seleka soldiers in front of her crying children.

Byaruhanga says that unchecked, such brutal acts have become commonplace, while women suffer in silence in a country where services have crumbled and aid agencies are targets.

“We are also seriously concerned about the widespread rape of women and girls.  This is a horrendous crime that has been committed all through the last 12 or so months by these Seleka soldiers and they’ve continued without anybody being able to stop them,” he said.

Amnesty says that the Seleka ex-rebels have forcibly recruited over 3,000 children, opened their ranks to former criminals and drawn in foreign fighters from neighboring Chad and Sudan.

Government officials could not be reached for comment, but Byaruhanga says that they have failed to check abuses.

“The situation is totally appalling and the government appears not to be either able or willing to prevent these soldiers from continuing with these human rights crimes,” he said.

Faced with so much violence and looting, villagers have formed self-defense units to fight back in a country where confidence in the state has crumbled and Christians are fighting the largely Muslim Seleka rebels in a deepening sectarian crisis.

“Long-term, the problem is that this could lead to the Central African Republic people becoming completely ungovernable and it becoming a failed state and the repercussions will not be felt just in the Central African Republic but far beyond, in neighboring African countries,” he said.

Security analysts also fear that the country will fast become a safe haven for other armed groups in the region.  The CAR is already thought to be the favorite hideout of fugitive warlord Joseph Kony and his terrorist group The Lord’s Resistance Army.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid