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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid