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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs