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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More