News / Africa

    More Regional Troops Going to Central African Republic

    An armored vehicle of of the Congolese army, part of the Central African Multinational Force is parked in front of a bank in central Bangui on April 3, 2013.
    An armored vehicle of of the Congolese army, part of the Central African Multinational Force is parked in front of a bank in central Bangui on April 3, 2013.
    Anne Look
    It has been almost two months since the Seleka rebel coalition seized power in the Central African Republic, but rebel leaders say they are struggling to get criminality under control.  The Economic Community of Central African States says it will begin sending an additional 1,200 regional troops to CAR this week to help stabilize the country. 

    This man in the town of Batangafo, in the northern Central African Republic, says armed men attacked his neighborhood on May 17, killing six people and setting fire to several houses.  He asked that VOA not use his name out of fear for his safety.

    He says they came in four cars.  They did not speak the local Sango language, and they went door-to-door stealing and hitting people.  He says they killed his cousin.

    It has become a familiar story as frustration mounts in the Central African Republic over generalized insecurity since the Seleka rebel takeover on March 24.

    Fighters for the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013.Fighters for the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013.
    x
    Fighters for the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013.
    Fighters for the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013.
    Residents of the capital Bangui say that armed men they believe to be Seleka members are holding up taxi drivers for cash and visiting private homes to demand cars, televisions and other valuables.

    Drivers in the capital tried to organize a day without taxis or buses on May 10, the second time they have done so since the rebel takeover, after two taxi drivers were killed.  One was beaten to death, and another was strangled.

    The secretary-general of one of the country's six transporter unions, Ange Vogar Mandipi, says their friend Mohamed Mbaye was strangled by Seleka fighters during the night of May 8.  He says the attackers stole Mbaye's taxi and abandoned his body.  He says the transporters called for the strike to get authorities to find the perpetrators.

    Meanwhile, journalists organized a day without newspapers or news broadcasts on April 29 to protest the intimidation of reporters and the looting of press agencies by Seleka members.

    In a statement to the U.N. Security Council last week, U.N. Special Representative to the CAR Margaret Vogt described a "state of anarchy and total disregard for international law as elements of Seleka have turned their vengeance against the population."

    Vogt said Seleka leaders appeared either "unwilling or unable" to control their ranks.

    Rebel leaders blame "out of control elements" and "fake Seleka" for continued criminality. 

    Deputy Seleka military chief General Ibrahim Safidine says they are having trouble identifying their fighters.  He says not a day goes by that they do not hear about these blunders and abuses committed by people claiming to be Seleka.  He says they are investigating and have put in place a strategy to weed out the perpetrators.

    Part of the problem is that even the real Seleka fighters have trouble recognizing each other.

    Seleka is a loose coalition of five rebel groups in the north that took up arms in December against the government of President Francois Bozize.  They said the government had defaulted on previous peace accords, in particular promises to pay rebel groups to disarm and reintegrate into society.

    The Bozize government is no longer, but the issue of disarmament is as much a problem as ever.

    Seleka combatants say armed opportunists joined their ranks as they pushed south and more jumped on board when they took the capital.

    The "real" Seleka members say they have not been paid since the takeover, other than receiving small food stipends of about $40.  Some say their leaders had promised them victory payoffs of up to $6,000.

    The country has begun the process of quartering rebel fighters, but the Seleka rank and file say they will not give up their arms until they are paid.

    The Economic Community of Central African States says it is changing the mandate of the regional FOMAC force in the Central African Republic to empower it to help maintain order and enforce disarmament.

    The regional body says in coming weeks it will more than double the size of the FOMAC force to 2,000 soldiers. 

    Jose Richard Pouambi contributed reporting from Bangui. 

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jose
    May 21, 2013 9:33 AM
    This sounds much like the book "The Quick Sand War" and those African countries sending troops there, will take casualties unless they have a comprehensive plan and well thought out strategy to deal with this problem. There is no time line mentioned and it may run several years - what then.? Africa is "awash" with weaponry and precious minerals, diamonds, gold etc Zimbabwe sent its troops there and paid the price?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora