News / Africa

Seven Dead in CAR Killings

Rwandan African Union peacekeepers remove the lucky charms from a suspected Anti-Balaka Christian man who was found with a rifle and a grenade following looting in the Muslim market of the PK13 district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 22, 2014.
Rwandan African Union peacekeepers remove the lucky charms from a suspected Anti-Balaka Christian man who was found with a rifle and a grenade following looting in the Muslim market of the PK13 district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 22, 2014.
Reuters
Seven people died in inter-religious attacks and reprisal killings in Central African Republic's capital Bangui on Wednesday, a human rights campaigner said, underlining the challenge the new interim president faces in restoring peace.
 
The local Red Cross said it also found another 11 corpses, most burnt beyond recognition.
 
Close to one million people, or a quarter of the population, have been displaced in the former French colony by clashes that began when mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a coup in March.
 
Christian self-defense groups known as “anti-balaka” (anti-machete) have since taken up arms against them, and the United Nations estimates that tit-for-tat violence has claimed more than 2,000 lives.
 
Wednesday's violence erupted after Seleka fighters left a military base looking for food and shot and killed two Christians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
 
In reprisal, “the youth from the neighborhood went to the prison and took out five Seleka detainees and killed them,” Peter Bouckaert, an HRW researcher in Bangui, told Reuters.
 
The other 11 bodies were found behind a military camp in another part of the city.
 
Antoine Mbao Bogo, president of the Central African Red Cross Society, said nine of the bodies collected in the mostly Muslim northern neighborhood of PK11 had been set on fire.
 
“They were not buried, they were dumped on the ground,” he told Reuters by telephone.
 
He added that the Red Cross had collected 87 bodies in the past five days across the country. The figure did not include the seven people killed on Wednesday.
 
Out of control
 
The arrival of a 1,600-strong French military mission and another 5,000 African Union peacekeepers has so far failed to stop the violence in Central African Republic.
 
A source with the French force said on Wednesday its soldiers were involved in overnight clashes after coming under attack from unidentified gunmen.
 
This week the European Union said it would send 500 soldiers to support international troops already on the ground. And the United States said on Wednesday it was giving an additional $30 million to help ease the country's crippling humanitarian crisis.
 
Catherine Samba-Panza reacts after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president in Bangui, Jan. 20, 2014.Catherine Samba-Panza reacts after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president in Bangui, Jan. 20, 2014.
x
Catherine Samba-Panza reacts after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president in Bangui, Jan. 20, 2014.
Catherine Samba-Panza reacts after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president in Bangui, Jan. 20, 2014.
Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, the mayor of Bangui, was appointed as leader on Monday and is due to formally take office on Thursday.
 
She replaced former interim President Michel Djotodia, a former Seleka leader who stepped down on Jan. 10 amid intense international pressure. Samba-Panza has pledged to meet with armed groups in an effort to restore order.
 
However, ending the cycle of violence will not be easy.
 
HRW researcher Bouckaert witnessed hundreds of Christians attack and embark on a looting spree in the mainly Muslim PK13 neighborhood on Wednesday. Rwandan peacekeepers, newly arrived in the country, were forced to intervene to protect around 30 Muslim civilians surrounded by the mob until they were evacuated by French soldiers.
 
Elsewhere, a Reuters witness said that a crowd of angry Christian residents armed with machetes and wooden weapons gathered in the neighborhood of Ngaragba, near the French embassy, to protest against ongoing attacks by Seleka.
 
The protesters burned tires as French troops tried to contain them.
 
“Last night and even this morning they came to attack us. We don't know where we will live next,” said former Corporal Bernard Desire Mariano, referring to Seleka attacks.
 
Aid workers said they could wind up struggling to feed Bangui's displaced population, including around 100,000 seeking shelter at the airport, because food supplies had been disrupted due to a strike by U.N. truck drivers.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid