News / Africa

CAR President Vows Protection for Muslims

Parliamentary-elected interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza gives a speech to residents and members of the media at the monastery in Boy Rabe district in the capital Bangui, Feb. 1, 2014.
Parliamentary-elected interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza gives a speech to residents and members of the media at the monastery in Boy Rabe district in the capital Bangui, Feb. 1, 2014.
Nick Long
The new president of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, has promised that starting next week, the country’s security forces will be re-organized to protect Muslims as well as Christians.

The interim president made the announcement Saturday at several sites for displaced people including the central mosque in Bangui, where hundreds of Muslims have taken refuge from the violence in their part of the city.

Muslims are a minority of the CAR’s population, perhaps about 15 percent. Since last year when a largely Muslim rebel group, the Seleka, seized power, and then gradually lost power, the fellow Muslims have been in increasing danger.

Her visit to a mosque on Saturday was the first time that Samba-Panza, who is a Christian, has met a large Muslim crowd since she was elected president last month. It marked an important test of her appeal to Muslims.

The visit was nearly called off in the morning when an anti-Muslim gang burned a house near the mosque and tried to lynch a Muslim, but the president finally arrived there with a heavily armed escort of Rwandan peacekeepers.

Unlike at the other sites the president had visited, there was no cheering as she shook hands with waiting dignitaries, but she managed to break the ice with a unifying address partly in Arabic, the only language many Muslims here understand.

She told the crowd she deplores the fact that many people who have lived in the Central African Republic a long time have now been forced to flee to Chad or to the northeast of the country. This is against the principles on which the nation was built, she says, as expressed in its motto - Unity, Dignity and Work.

Tens of thousands of CAR’s Muslim population have been forced into exile or forced to return to their home countries, while in Bangui and across the west of the CAR frightened communities are under attack by the so-called anti-Balaka militia. Many are anxiously waiting for trucks to get through that might yet take them to safety.

The Chadian government has taken a lead in evacuating Muslims from the CAR - aid agencies are reluctant to organize wholesale departures because it could be seen as facilitating ethnic cleansing.

Security forces in the CAR were routed by Seleka rebels last year and, only recently, have begun to reassemble.

Samba Panza reiterated her call for militias to lay down their arms, but had a conciliatory message for some militia members.

"Not all the Seleka militia are bandits," she said, "and not all the anti-Balaka militia are bandits either, but they must guard against being manipulated."

She added that starting Monday the security forces - army, police and gendarmerie - will be rearmed so that they can protect the whole population, in collaboration with international peacekeepers.

Meanwhile African Union and French peacekeepers have re-established their presence at the town of Sibut, 150 kilometers north of Bangui, where hundreds of Seleka fighters had set up a base. It is not clear whether the Seleka have left the town, but it seems they did not take on the international forces.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 02, 2014 12:46 PM
In islamic countries of the world, non-adherents to islam have no rights to live. They are treated worse than animals in the farms, much less than the pet animals. In a country like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc, the life of humans who do not practice islam is worth below a chick, a duck that if a muslim kills one, the muslim just pays a little damage to the [owner] of the person killed, or goes to jail for a minimum jail term - sometimes 26 days only. The non-adherent has no right to job, employment or amenities; they have partial voting right - to vote but cannot be voted for. Here in Central Africa Republic, a little taste of their own cookies is served them and the world gathers to denounce it. If it is wrong to kill a muslim in CAR, it is also a criminal offense to deny rights of other citizens in predominantly muslim countries of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa where the practice of dehumanizing citizens because they do not practice islam is the order of the day. If it is wrong to kill a muslim in CAR, it is wrong to kill a Christian in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Bahrain, Qatar etc., where you are not even allowed to visit with your copy of the Christian Holy Book, the bible. If the world is talking about the wrong to denial of human rights of muslims - just in CAR - the world should speak out about the mega denial of fundamental human rights of citizens of so-called islamic countries too. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.


by: Anonymous
February 02, 2014 1:49 AM
Pres.Carthrine should please try to bring this conflicts to an end so that their country should move forward .Also she should arrest ring leader of the Barstard antibalaka militias not they are Brothers and Sister in Christianity 'no side rule the country.


by: Kamara Mohammed M. from: Monrovia,Liberia
February 01, 2014 3:33 PM
Pls African brothers & sisters, let us live together as one,we all are one family ,living in one world,having same the value as human,if we don't live together hamonsiouly,it means that we will perrish as flood.

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 02, 2014 1:06 PM
It is good to make this call when muslims are at the receiving end. It will have more serious meaning when we hear it from the Middle East and Asia where islam is holding sway; it should sound out in Nigeria where muslim militants are killing people in scores daily; it should be heard in the Middle East where muslim terrorists want to eliminate every trace of civilization and things that are not islamic. Let this voice that wants peace in CAR and Africa say so to the muslims concerning Israel. Then and only then can I know that muslims also love peace. Not just now because muslims are being killed. It is when they think before they act if a child draws a cartoon in the internet and name it one of muslims specials. It is good to hear peace, but let some muslim condemn some of the outrageous islamist forays like (suicide) bombings here and there in neighborhoods that are not islamic.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid