News / Africa

CAR Capital Tense but Calm Thursday

French troops of the Sangaris operation stop the crowds who have gathered at the entrance to the airport of Bangui, Central African Republic on Dec. 12, 2013.
French troops of the Sangaris operation stop the crowds who have gathered at the entrance to the airport of Bangui, Central African Republic on Dec. 12, 2013.
Anne Look
— In the Central African Republic, the streets of the capital were calm Thursday, one week after intense fighting broke out there, but residents say weapons are still circulating and the risk of further communal violence remains.

The capital city of Bangui entered its second day Thursday of what residents say has been a "precarious calm" after a week of violence between Muslims and Christians that has killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.

People have been taking advantage of the lull to bury their dead.

(L) Angry crowds throw stones at FOMAC regional peacekeepers. (R) ,FOMAC regional peacekeepers, fire their guns as they evacuate Muslim clerics from Bangui's St Jacques Church, Central African Republic, Dec. 12, 2013.(L) Angry crowds throw stones at FOMAC regional peacekeepers. (R) ,FOMAC regional peacekeepers, fire their guns as they evacuate Muslim clerics from Bangui's St Jacques Church, Central African Republic, Dec. 12, 2013.
x
(L) Angry crowds throw stones at FOMAC regional peacekeepers. (R) ,FOMAC regional peacekeepers, fire their guns as they evacuate Muslim clerics from Bangui's St Jacques Church, Central African Republic, Dec. 12, 2013.
(L) Angry crowds throw stones at FOMAC regional peacekeepers. (R) ,FOMAC regional peacekeepers, fire their guns as they evacuate Muslim clerics from Bangui's St Jacques Church, Central African Republic, Dec. 12, 2013.
Muslims gathered at a mosque in Bangui to bury those they said had been killed in recent days in reprisal attacks since the French military began disarming the mainly Muslim ex-rebels.
Mosques were destroyed, and there have been reports of stonings and lynchings of Muslims.

Government minister Ousmane Mahamat Ousmane says these are civilians who have been killed by the anti-balakas, or Christian militias, that he said include both armed men and regular citizens.  He says he is calling on the people of the CAR to forget this spirit of vendettas and settling scores. Most of these people, he says, have been killed by their own neighbors.

Ousmane was a general in the now-disbanded Seleka rebel coalition. That coalition, made up of Muslim fighters from the north, seized control of the country in March, plunging it into chaos and committing what international human rights groups say have been serious abuses against civilians since coming to power.

Christian militiamen opposed to Seleka attacked the capital one week ago on December 5.  The vicious fighting that ensued killed more than 400 people.

France rushed more troops to the CAR to work alongside a regional African force to restore law and order after getting the green light from the U.N. Security Council.
There are now 1,600 French soldiers on the ground. Their immediate focus has been forcibly disarming combatants.

But residents of Bangui say the communal violence that has continued since disarmament operations began on Monday is worrying.

This resident says "what I have seen has been terrible. Seeing people kill each other is horrible." He says French troops need to go out and patrol and protect civilians otherwise he says he doesn't understand why they are there.

Some Muslims in the city say the French aren't doing enough to disarm the Christian militias.
French authorities acknowledge that they have undertaken a dangerous and complex mission but say it was necessary to intervene to keep the country from slipping into civil war.

France plans to hand off the mission in six months to African Union troops who are still deploying to the CAR.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid