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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Remain Engaged in Afghan Peace Talks

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Daniel Feldman recently met with Pakistani and Afghan officials as talks were disrupted by news of Taliban chief Mullah Omar's death More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs