News / Africa

CAR Capital Tense After Militia Disarmament Operation

MISCA military soldiers check houses during an operation in the Boy-rabe neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 15, 2014.
MISCA military soldiers check houses during an operation in the Boy-rabe neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 15, 2014.
Anne Look
The C.A.R. capital Bangui remains tense Sunday, one day after French and African troops embarked on a major operation to disarm local militias known as the anti-balaka. Those groups are accused of carrying out revenge attacks against Muslims.  The attacks have caused tens of thousands to flee the capital in recent weeks.

It is here in the Boye Rabe neighborhood, the fiefdom of the anti-balaka, that French and African troops went door to door Saturday confiscating weapons and munitions and rounding up anti-balaka leaders.

The troops say they were acting at the request of state judicial authorities.

C.A.R.'s interim government has declared war on the anti-balaka. French and African Union troops say they are public enemy number one.

Here in Boye Rabe, anti-balaka members say if it is war they want, it is war they will get. They say they are getting ready. They say if the authorities want to provoke them, they will respond.

A spokesman for the anti-balaka says they are demanding the release of the 10 people that were arrested.

The militia's political coordinator, ex-minister Patrice Edouard Ngaissona - the so-called big fish of this loosely unified movement - evaded capture Saturday.

A banner hangs over the entry to Boye Rabe. It is addressed to the French force, Sangaris, and the AU troops known as MISCA. It says "the people are ready to take to the streets."

Some residents here say forcibly disarming the anti-balaka is a bad idea.

Resident Ngaro Nadine says "why did they arrest those leaders? They were not in uniform or out with any weapons."

She says "if you want to disarm the anti-balaka, it is better to first disarm the Seleka. It is the Seleka who have been massacring and killing. Now it is the anti-balaka who are strong."

She says the national army is weak and the population is depending on the anti-balaka for protection.

The anti-balaka say they want the same treatment as the Seleka rebels. They want to be barracked, paid and included in a forthcoming disarmament and reintegration process.

International troops say that is not going to happen.  

The C.A.R. has been in chaos since last March when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels from the north overthrew the government.

The anti-balaka rose up in opposition to widespread Seleka abuses against civilians. The anti-balaka include ex-military loyal to ousted president Francois Bozize.

They launched an assault on Seleka rebels in the capital in December.  Inter-communal killing ensued. The anti-balaka movement descended into mass looting and revenge attacks against the country's Muslim minority.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs