News / Africa

CAR Envoy Appeals for Help in Cameroon

FILE - Michel Djotodia, the rebel leader who declared himself president, meets with members of the government armed forces, in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 28, 2013.
FILE - Michel Djotodia, the rebel leader who declared himself president, meets with members of the government armed forces, in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 28, 2013.
— Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia has dispatched special envoys to neighboring countries to make a plea for assistance in stabilizing the country. Lawlessness has been spiraling out of control since Djotodia and his Seleka rebels seized power in March. CAR envoy Idriss Salao visited Cameroon just after armed men from his country crossed the border and fought with forces in Cameroon resulting in seven deaths.

On a his mission to Cameroon, Idriss Salao, Minister and Deputy Director of the Civil Cabinet, said the situation in his Central African Republic is getting worse.

Speaking to VOA after his meeting with Cameroon Prime Minister Philemon Yang, Salao said his transitional government needs help not only from African Union (AU) peacekeepers but neighbors. He expressed gratitude toward regional governments.

Salao said he is meeting with friendly nations like Cameroon so that his defense forces can work with them on regional security.

The African Union will take charge of a planned 3,500-troop peacekeeping force in December to stem the spiralling violence in CAR which began when Djotodia and his Seleka rebels overthrew the government earlier this year.

Salao’s’ plea for help to Cameroon comes as the United States announced it would send $40 million in aid. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there is no effective government and no evidence the transitional authority can end what he called “deplorable levels of violence” - particularly by former Seleka rebels.

Salao’s visit also comes less than a week after armed men from his country crossed over and attacked Cameroon soldiers. Seven people - including five of the assailants, were killed.

In response Comeroonians in the east began blocking access roads for transiting goods from the Douala sea port to landlocked CAR.

Salao appealed to Cameroon authorities for the roads to be opened or warned it could paralyse the CAR. economy. He said the Douala seaport supplies Central Africa with 90 percent of it imports.

The Central African Republic has seen numerous coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960. But the international community is growing alarmed at the latest developments in CAR with looting, rape, kidnapping and murder common place.

James Kiven, a conflict prevention specialist at the University of Buea, Cameroon, says C.A.R. is a failed state.

"We are looking at a State that politically is witnessing a complete collapse of law and order," Kiven said. "We are also looking here at a State that functionally is unable to represent itself internationally. I think clearly that Central African Republic is a failed State."

The United Nations Refugee Agency is estimating that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced both internally and have taken refuge in neighboring countries.

Cameroon hosts about 60,000 CAR refugees.

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