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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs