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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid