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.
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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs