News / Africa

Muslim Community Leaders Blast Peacekeepers in CAR

Map of Central African Republic
Map of Central African Republic
Nick Long
Four young Muslims were killed in the Central African Republic capital Bangui over the weekend, among them a son and a brother of an important community leader, the mayor of the city's 3rd Arrondissement, or district. Their friends and relatives are asking why international peacekeepers are not permanently stationed on the frontline between their community and a neighboring hostile district.

Grave diggers prepare the earth inside the compound of Atehirou Balladodo, the mayor of Bangui's third district. The bodies of the mayor's son and brother could not be buried at the Muslim cemetery because it is in the neighboring Boeing district, now controlled by hostile forces.

On Sunday, friends and relatives filed past the bodies, laid out on white sheets, and hundreds of people attended a brief religious ceremony outside the house.

Two other young men were also killed Saturday. All four were part of the Muslims' self-defense force. Balladodo says they were called out three times on Saturday to respond to threats.  

"The first attack was at 6 a.m., the second at 10:30 and at about 1:30 p.m., my boys went out again. African Union peacekeepers arrived on the scene for the first attack and so did the French peacekeepers, at 10 a.m., but they were not there when the third attack came - when the two boys died," said Balladodo.

A relative, Mahamadou Baba, said the French peacekeepers, known as Sangaris, should have responded more strongly.

"Sangaris were there and they were fired at by the anti-balaka militia and by ex-Central Africa army soldiers. They fired back and advanced to the Boeing district, and stayed in the area a couple of hours with their helicopters flying over, but I don't understand why the militia fighters weren't dislodged," said Baba.

"We're astonished," he said, "that there's no permanent presence of Sangaris, or of the African Union mission MISCA, on that side of our district, because that's the hotspot where most of the attacks come from."

There are only about 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims left in Bangui out of an estimated 150,000 before communal violence flared last year. And nearly all of them are forced to live in a ghetto, the so-called Kilometre Cinq area of the 3rd Arrondissement.

A spokesman for the French mission, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Mollard,said that while the Sangaris do not have a base in the 3rd Arrondissement, the mission has a permanent presence and has patrols there night and day. MISCA, he poineds out, does have a base in the district.

A MISCA officer acknowledged that their base is not on the side facing the Boeing district, which local people say is the front line.

Asked why the international forces are not permanently at this hotpoint, Lt. Col. Mollard said the C.A.R. is a country of rumors and while local people may perceive threats as coming from Boeing district, the attackers might in fact be from another district. He confirmed there has been a resurgence of tension in Bangui during the past few days.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid