News / Africa

HRW Reports Massacres in CAR

At PK12, the last checkpoint at the exit of the town, thousands of Muslim residents from Bangui and Mbaiki flee the Central African Republic capital Bangui, escorted by Chadian troops, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. PK12 is the last neighborhood in Bangui with a concentration of Muslim residents.  (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
At PK12, the last checkpoint at the exit of the town, thousands of Muslim residents from Bangui and Mbaiki flee the Central African Republic capital Bangui, escorted by Chadian troops, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. PK12 is the last neighborhood in Bangui with a concentration of Muslim residents. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The group Human Rights Watch reports it has uncovered evidence of massacres in remote villages in Central African Republic. It accuses both anti-balaka militias and Seleka fighters for the attacks. The armed groups have been waging inter-communal violence since December. 
 
Human Rights Watch Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert said it took time to learn the details of the attacks.
 
“The southwest of the Central African Republic is a very remote area. It actually took us days just to reach the area where these massacres have taken place. We had heard rumors of large-scale killings in the southwest for weeks now, but we finally managed to get there and to get direct eyewitness testimonies about what’s been happening in that part of the country,” he said.
 
Two attacks occurred on the village of Guen. The first attack came on February 1st and the next, four days later. Human Rights Watch said anti-balaka militias killed 72 Muslim men and boys, some as young as nine. Eyewitnesses said the victims were shot or hacked with machetes, or both.
 
HRW researcher Lewis Mudge said, “There seems to be a general strategy on the part of the anti-balaka to target men and males. And they do not make a difference between boys and men. They don’t see a young man at the age of 12 or 13 as being any different from a man in his 30s. So, they are certainly targeting any male that they can get their hands on except for the very young. We do see them sparing young boys, five, six, seven years old.”
 
Mudge said that while anti-balaka groups around the capital Bangui appear to have some organization, it’s not the case with those in southwestern CAR.
 
“These anti-balaka groups really are just criminal gangs, bands of thugs. The town of Carnot, which is a major diamond producing area, has at least 12 anti-balaka groups that have staked-out territories. Down in Berberati it’s very, very difficult to know who actually is controlling the anti-balaka. They seem to exist more for profit and to harass people and try to get money,” he said.
 
Human Rights Watch reported another massacre occurred February 19th in the village of Yakongo. It’s about 30 kilometers from Guen. This time the attack is blamed on the mostly Muslim Seleka fighters and Peuhl cattle herders. Nineteen people were killed in Yakongo, along with two anti-balaka fighters. Eyewitnesses said one of the victims was a
two-year-old child, who died in his mother’s arms after being shot.
 
Mudge said that most of the Seleka left southwest CAR in late January and early February and moved east. Those remaining have joined with the Peuhl, who are moving cattle from CAR to Cameroon
 
“It seems that they’re attacking villages out of both revenge and also to replenish lost food supplies. Because in every attack we are noting that they focus on stealing the manioc and the peanut stocks,” said Mudge.
 
Both Yakongo and Guen are located on a main road linking the towns of Boda and Carnot, where thousands of Muslims have taken shelter from anti-balaka attacks.
 
Anti-balaka militias arose last December in response to Seleka attacks against Christian and traditional religion communities. Earlier in 2013, the former rebels forced President Francois Bozize from power. There has been no effective government since then despite two interim presidents, including Michel Djotodia, the former Seleka leader. Anti-balaka fighters appear to have the upper hand in much of the country.
 
Human Rights Watch’s Bouckaert said it appears the conflict is nearing the end stage in many parts of western CAR.
 
“These really are the last remaining Muslim communities from a population of hundreds of thousands, who used to live in these areas. The vast majority of the Muslims have now fled to neighboring Chad or Cameroon.”
 
U.N. agencies are looking for safe locations in the north of the country to relocate Muslims from Bangui, Boda, Carnot, Berberati and Bossangoa. They have some protection there from French and African forces, but Bouckaert said Muslims in remote areas do not.
 
“They continue to be attacked, but they also are in a horrific humanitarian condition. In some of the places we visited we actually found people starving to death because they were unable to access food,” he said.
 
He said that a much bigger international military presence is needed in CAR. Current peacekeepers are too few in an area that’s too big.
 
“They are very limited in number. There are only 6,000 African peacekeepers and about 2,000 French troops on the ground in a country which is larger than France. But we are concerned

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid