News / Africa

Renegade Fighters Spread Violence, Instability in CAR

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.
Gabe Joselow
Rebel leaders in the Central African Republic are struggling to rein in their own fighters, blamed for violence in the capital that has left some 20 people dead over the past week. The instability is hampering efforts to aide a needy population, according to a United Nations official in the country.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Seleka rebels are engaged in battles with armed youths loyal to the ousted president, Francois Bozize, in Bangui. Residents have complained of widespread looting by the rebels in pro-Bozize areas since the fighters took control of the city last month.
 
Despite promises from Seleka, leaders have failed to control their soldiers, said Amy Martin, head of the U.N. office for humanitarian affairs in the CAR.
 
“There has been no real movement and no real success if you will from the Seleka leadership here to try to contain their elements to try to contain their soldiers to go to barracks and to improve the security," said Martin. "So you have a general sense of lawlessness.”
 
Seleka’s leadership has been receptive to the concerns of the humanitarian community, said Martin, which in times of peace has difficulty reaching populations in a country that lacks sufficient roads and basic infrastructure. But the current security situation is impeding aid work, particularly outside the capital.
 
"It’s hindering our movement outside of Bangui by the roads, Martin said. "Seleka in the countryside has equally been looting mainly NGO and U.N. offices as well.”
 
The U.N. says health needs are critical in the country, as hospitals are running out of supplies. Meantime, food prices have increased up to 40 percent in some areas.
 
Regional powers are meeting in Chad Thursday to discuss a response to the crisis in the CAR, which may include the deployment of 1,000 additional soldiers to a peacekeeping force.
 
The existing multinational African force in the CAR, known as FOMAC, sent reinforcements to defend the capital against the rebels.  But residents of Bangui say peacekeepers put up no resistance as Seleka swept in.
 
Soldiers from the national army, meanwhile, shed their uniforms and blended in with the population or joined the rebels while rebels fought off South African soldiers working with the army, killing 13.
 
Michel Djotodia greets supporters at a Seleka rebel rally in Bangui, Mar. 30, 2013.Michel Djotodia greets supporters at a Seleka rebel rally in Bangui, Mar. 30, 2013.
x
Michel Djotodia greets supporters at a Seleka rebel rally in Bangui, Mar. 30, 2013.
Michel Djotodia greets supporters at a Seleka rebel rally in Bangui, Mar. 30, 2013.
But now as the de facto political authority in CAR, Seleka would be expected to work side by side with the peacekeepers.

Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa director with the International Crisis Group, said it is in the group’s interest to cooperate.
 
“I don’t think that Seleka can object to the reinforcements of the African peacekeeping mission because at this stage Seleka’s leadership would like to be recognized internationally," Vircoulon said.
 
Seleka leader Michel Djotodia was named interim president Saturday by a newly-formed National Transition Council, made up of rebels, members of the opposition and supporters of the former government. The council has the task of organizing elections within 18 months.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs