News / Africa

CAR Looks at Anti-Balaka Disarmament Plan

Anti-balaka fighters from the town of Bossembele rest while on patrol in the Boeing district of Bangui, Central African Republic, February 24, 2014.
Anti-balaka fighters from the town of Bossembele rest while on patrol in the Boeing district of Bangui, Central African Republic, February 24, 2014.
Nick Long
The Central African Republic's government is considering a plan to persuade anti-balaka militia fighters to leave the capital and return to their villages. International peacekeeping chiefs are skeptical about a proposal that might leave them in charge of large camps full of combatants.

Both the Seleka rebels who overthrew the president last year and the anti-balaka militias that drove back the Seleka are accused of massacring thousands of people and of widespread looting and destruction. At least 100,000 Muslims have fled the western C.A.R. in recent months as a result of sectarian violence led by the anti-balaka.

Some of the anti-balaka in Bangui came from the provinces late last year seeking revenge on the Seleka, or perhaps just wanting to loot the capital. The government wants to help them go home.

Transportation, farm tools needed

One government minister told VOA that anti-balaka seeking to leave will need transportation and farm tools.

And an anti-balaka coordinator who advises the government told the IRIN news service there is a plan to find a place where the anti-balaka can gather before going home.

Gilbert Kamizulai said he commands the anti-balaka militia in southern Bangui. He said he has asked that his group be immediately put in camps, then demobilized and helped to rejoin civilian life. And he also said they should receive amnesty. The papers are with the government, he said, but it’s taking time and they find themselves remaining in the field.

The plan probably will involve international aid donors. It also likely will involve the French and African Union peacekeeping missions to protect the demobilized militia.

Concerns abound

French commander General Francisco Soriano said this week he has concerns about the idea of putting the anti-balaka in camps.

As for the anti-balaka, he asked, who they are, and who is their chief? He said there needs to be a clear chain of command and a chief who has authority over them.
 
There also is the risk that a huge number of people could turn up at a camp and wait there for months, and then decide not to leave after all.
 
Some Seleka fighters have been cantoned in Bangui, but Soriano said that was possible because they have a chain of command and are identifiable.

Advocating for camps

Others in the international community , however, are more sympathetic to the idea of a camp for the anti-balaka.
 
They include the interim U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the country, Kouassi Lazare Etien, who wants the groups disarmed. Still, Etien said he recognizes the difficulty with the plan. Normally for disarmament to succeed, the armed group needs to be cantoned, he said, and the anti-balaka are spread out all over the country.

Such a plan is likely weeks, if not months, away from fruition. There are only about 2,000 French and 6,000 African peacekeepers in the country, although more European troops are due to arrive.  

And money has been slow to arrive for any of the projects meant to restore order in the C.A.R., where hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid