News / Africa

France Pins Hope on July Talks to End CAR Violence

FILE - An elderly Muslim refugee uses crutches to walk next to a youth inside a Catholic church in Carnot, Central African Republic, April 2014.
FILE - An elderly Muslim refugee uses crutches to walk next to a youth inside a Catholic church in Carnot, Central African Republic, April 2014.
Reuters

France said on Tuesday is was pinning its hopes on regional peace talks to halt violence in Central African Republic, a day after officials said rebels and armed Muslim civilians killed at least 24 civilians in a cathedral compound.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking during a visit to the former French colony, said its interim president was politically "isolated" as foreign troops struggled to stop recurrent violence between Muslims and Christians.

"The situation remains extremely complex and very fragile," Le Drian told RMC radio while visiting French troops stationed there after 10 were wounded in recent clashes.

Central African Republic's latest violence stems back to the takeover of the majority Christian country last year by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel group. Christian militia sprung up in response, saying they were defending their communities against Seleka attacks.

The rebel stepped down earlier this year under intense international pressure and an interim government took over.

"I met the president [Catherine Samba-Panza] last night. She has a lot of determination and goodwill, but is a little isolated," said Le Drian.

He added there was a "ray" of hope after regional leaders agreed to bring the country's main players to the negotiating table at the end of July in the Congo Republic capital Brazzaville to try and agree a ceasefire.

"The French government is putting a lot of hope in this conference, which should help reach a more pacified solution," Le Drian said, adding that if the next few months went to plan, Paris would begin withdrawing troops by the end of the year.

The weak interim government has failed to stamp its authority on the country despite the presence of about 6,000 African Union peacekeepers and 2,000 French soldiers.

Paris had hoped for a relatively quick solution to the crisis after it intervened in December, but violence has worsened in the north.

"The task for our forces is very difficult. They are trying to stop clashes between communities who have real hatred and others that are criminal gangs," said Le Drian.

Fighters attacked St. Joseph's Cathedral compound in Bambari, 380 km (236 miles) northeast of the capital, where thousands of mostly Christians were taking refuge on Monday, said church officials.

"As of this morning, we have counted 24 dead and 32 injured," Felix Ndarata, a Red Cross official in Bambari, said. Most died on the spot while others succumbed to their injuries in hospital, he added.

A Seleka official said that the incident was retaliation for an earlier attack by Christian militia known as "anti-balaka".

Le Drian cancelled a Tuesday trip to the town after the attack, said his spokesman.

Tension has been building for weeks in Bambari, where recent fighting displaced thousands of people, including Muslims previously evacuated from the capital, Bangui.

More than a year of violence in C.A.R. has killed thousands, forced a million from their homes and sent most Muslims fleeing into northern zones closer to Chad and Sudan.

Seven French soldiers were wounded in Bambari on Thursday, and three others were wounded in a grenade attack in Bangui a day later.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid