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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid