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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid