News / Africa

CAR’s Chaos Spawns Sectarian Bloodletting

  • Seleka soldiers sit in a pick-up truck in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 6, 2013.
  • A Seleka fighter gestures outside a mosque where bodies of people killed during fighting are gathered in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • A convoy of Seleka soldiers patrol in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 6, 2013.
  • Civilians wait for further treatment at Bangui's hospital, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • French Special Forces race through Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • French soldiers patrol in their armoured personnel carrier during fighting in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • A nurse tends to the wounded at Bangui's hospital, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • A young man screams in pain as he lies in a pool of blood on the floor of Bangui's hospital, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • Seleka soldiers ride a motorcycle during fighting in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 5, 2013.

Violence in CAR

Hannah McNeish
Chaos and violence have gripped the Central African Republic since March when a coup by Muslim rebels and former mercenaries installed the country's first Muslim leader and then went on a rampage.

Joined by common criminals, the de facto state army, calling itself "Seleka", or alliance, has been murdering, raping and looting with impunity. In the northern town of Bossangoa, some 40,000 people have sought refuge - a fraction of those who have fled increasingly sectarian violence.
 
Deserted, razed villages line more than 100 kilometers of road south of Bossangoa, where tens of thousands of people are seeking shelter in a Catholic mission. They fled the Seleka, whose brutalities have driven some 400,000 people in the Central African Republic from their homes.
 
Bishop Nestor Aziagba said the foreign mercenaries that seized CAR's presidency for Michel Djotodia, are responsible for the many abuses against the population.
 
“So they started committing [abuses], against the local population, looting their properties, cows, ransacking their crops, burning down everything they have, and the government is not doing anything to protect them,” said Aziagba.
 
This brutality has turned a political conflict into a human rights catastrophe, involving sectarian bloodletting.
 
Among the new arrivals to the overcrowded camp is Dofio Rodriguez, who fled a Seleka attack that killed 30 people.
 
“After coming from their base and circling the village, one Friday morning at 5 a.m. the Seleka started firing, sustained gunfire, with bullets flying everywhere, killing people, children, men. You had to run to escape,” recalled Rodriguez.
 
In the Muslim quarter, trader Saleh Garba says he has documented over 500 deaths carried out by Christians against Muslims, including a September attack on two villages near Bossangoa. 
 
“They massacred all the Muslims living there. There were some who were over 50, 60, 70 [years old], who lived in the village. They killed everyone -- men, women -- even pregnant women. They beat them until the babies came out,” said Garba.
 
A handful of some 3,000 regional peacekeepers guard the Catholic mission and a school where some 1,000 Muslims are also seeking refuge, mainly from Christian self-defense groups.
 
The defense groups are armed with bows and arrows, daggers and machetes. 
 
With all security forces and officials having fled months ago, a few thousand regional troops have the seemingly impossible task of protecting CAR's people from heavily-armed, marauding gangs. The chaotic situation has left both Muslims and Christians praying for a proper intervention that can quell the violence and stop the bloodshed.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid