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

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