News / Africa

Muslims Remain Trapped in C.A.R. Town

Muslims Remain Trapped in C.A.R. Towni
X
Anne Look
April 01, 2014 4:41 PM
In western Central African Republic, entire towns have been emptied of Muslims. Some have been killed, while thousands of others have fled the anti-balaka militia who attacked them earlier this year as Muslim Seleka rebels withdrew to the northeast. In the southwestern town of Boda, thousands of Muslims are trapped as international troops struggle to keep a lid on tensions. VOA's Anne Look has this report from Boda.

Muslims Remain Trapped in C.A.R. Town

Anne Look
— In western Central African Republic, entire towns have been emptied of Muslims. Some have been killed, while thousands of others have fled the anti-balaka militia who attacked them earlier this year as Muslim Seleka rebels withdrew to the northeast. In the southwestern town of Boda, thousands of Muslims are trapped as international troops struggle to keep a lid on tensions.
 
There is an invisible wall now dividing the town of Boda. One Muslim man was shot when he ventured across it two days ago.
 
On one side is the town's Muslim population. On the other is the Christian population, including the mostly Christian anti-balaka militia.

Increased violence, failed talks

Each side says the other started the fighting. It began January 29 after the Muslim Seleka rebels left town. Dialogue has failed.
 
Violence only eased when French troops established this border.
 
They call it the "red line." Only it's not really a line. It's a circle surrounded by anti-balaka. Boda's mayor, Mahamat Awal, a Muslim, draws a map.

"This goes to Bangui. We can't cross this bridge. And we can't go here. We stay only in this district," he said.

Pervasive hunger

Hunger is the top concern. Muslims can't get to the market. They say the anti-balaka won't let Christian merchants come and sell food to them.
 
"No medicine, no security, said Boda resident Mahamat Kamiss Abouda. "The anti-balaka, they are killing. There is no food. Every day, every day, it's to the cemetery. Every day we need fabric to wrap bodies."

Clashes continue in the bush. Muslims have been fleeing into town. Another man said he walked 40 kilometers after being the sole survivor of an anti-balaka attack that killed 20 people, including his two wives and five children.
 
African Union peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo deployed to Boda at the end of March.
 
Their commander, Captain Ghislaine Singui, called a meeting on the Christian side. He said his orders are to keep the peace. "Those who hurt the population, I will hunt them even if they go into the bush. I have the men and the equipment for that."
 
The chief of the anti-balaka in Boda, Dopani Firmin, has a simple message. "The Muslims must go. That is the only solution," he said.
 
Locals get up to talk. They thank the anti-balaka and they repeat, "The Muslims must go."
 
Back in the Muslim neighborhood, some see economic reasons for this surge of resentment. Muslims control much of the commerce in Boda, including the gold and diamond trade.
 
Some worry their homes and businesses will be destroyed if they leave. Still, many say they'd go if they could.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid