News / Africa

Could CAR Violence Lead It to Partition?

Could CAR Violence Lead It to Partition?i
X
April 11, 2014 7:06 PM
The United Nations says 19,000 Muslims in the Central African Republic remain in imminent danger and should be relocated to safer towns farther north or outside the country. But it is a complex issue as tens of thousands of Muslims have already fled their homes in the capital and the western half of the country following attacks. Some local authorities worry that further evacuations could deepen divisions and reinforce calls for a partition of the country. VOA's Anne Look reports from Bangui.
Anne Look
The United Nations says 19,000 Muslims in the Central African Republic remain in imminent danger and should be relocated to safer towns farther north or outside the country.  But it is a complex issue, as tens of thousands of Muslims have already fled their homes in the capital and the western half of the country following attacks. 

Some local authorities worry that further evacuations could deepen divisions and reinforce calls for a partition of the country.   

The C.A.R. is a country divided.  Muslims are effectively separated from Christians.  

In the Muslim part of Bangui's PK12 neighborhood, some talk of eventual reconciliation -- others, divorce.

This resident, Moustapha Nasse, says "That's what I want.  If we separate the country, everyone can be at peace."

Two-thousand Muslims are stuck here in PK12 along a short stretch of road.  They can not risk going out. French and African Union troops stand guard, but trouble still makes its way in, almost daily.

A member of the Islamic committee of PK12, Ibrahim Alawad, stands in the entry to a small house and points in the distance.  

"They throw it through that way and it coming down here," he said.

"It" was a grenade lobbed into the area by anti-balaka militia outside just two days ago.  Five people were wounded.

U.N. agencies are preparing to relocate the Muslims of PK 12 farther north to towns that have agreed to accept them.

Across town i​n the Muslim PK5 neighborhood, many have left. Others want to go, though there are no immediate plans to evacuate them.  

PK5 resident, Haroune, says "We are in an open-air prison. We are held hostage.  We don't feel safe. We want to go north where we can be free and earn our livings."

There are about 10,000 Muslims left in PK5, confined to about a one-kilometer radius since December.

The government has asked the residents to stay.  The minister of communication and reconciliation came to Friday prayers at the Central Mosque as a show of solidarity.

January and February saw much of the country's Muslim minority flee attacks in the south and the west.  The largely Christian anti-balaka militia were seeking revenge for abuses committed by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels.

International troops escorted huge convoys of Muslims out of Bangui and other zones. Some went to Cameroon and Chad, others to towns in the north and the east, areas still under rebel control.

The mass exodus saved lives.

The government is against more evacuations but acknowledges it can do little to protect Muslims still in danger.

International troops are overwhelmed and under-resourced.  Some question whether those troops could fight off a separatist attempt by armed groups in the northeast.

The rebels who made up the now ex-Seleka coalition appear divided on the idea of partition for now.

General Mohamed Dhaffane, second vice president of the ex-Seleka coalition, says he is against it.  

He told VOA that "within Seleka there is a strong majority that wants partition.  They feel they are no longer accepted, that the Ndjamena accords have not been applied and so there is no sharing of power.  The Muslim population is also being persecuted.  So there are people, in all legitimacy, calling for partition.  But there are others, including myself, who are against.  We are a Muslim minority within the C.A.R.  We must remain and our rights must be respected."

Some in the C.A.R. say those in favor of partition are after diamond revenues, as well as potential oil deposits, in the northeast.

The northeast has spawned several rebellions over the past decade amid complaints that Bangui has done little to develop the north or deal with chronic insecurity.  

C.A.R. presidential spokesman and political adviser, Clement Anicet Guiyama-Massogo, says those needs must be addressed but partition is a dangerous prospect.

He says "we feel there are Islamist extremist groups who are trying to seize upon this situation to further complicate this crisis."

He says Boko Haram and other extremists were among the "mercenaries" present in the country after Seleka took power in March 2013, something Seleka denies.

The government says its position is clear: the country is indivisible.

Many of the Muslims still packing their bags in Bangui agree.  They say they want to reconcile, and that they will return when it is safe.

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid