News / Africa

UN Aims to Evacuate 19,000 Muslims Under Threat in Central African Republic

Men stand in a cell block for Muslim detainees, who are separated from the rest of the Christian inmates, at the central prison in the district of Wango, in the capital Bangui, March 21, 2014.
Men stand in a cell block for Muslim detainees, who are separated from the rest of the Christian inmates, at the central prison in the district of Wango, in the capital Bangui, March 21, 2014.
Reuters
— The United Nations said on Tuesday it was trying to evacuate 19,000 Muslims urgently from Bangui and other parts of Central African Republic who are surrounded by anti-balaka Christian militia threatening their lives.
 
Anti-balaka forces control major routes to and from Bangui as well as many towns and villages in the southwest, the U.N. refugee agency said. The militia has become more militarized as it steps up attacks on Muslims and African Union peacekeepers.
 
“What we don't want is to stand by and watch people being slaughtered,” UNHCR spokeswoman Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba told a news briefing about a conflict that U.N. officials have warned could spiral into genocide.
 
“This is what could happen because the only thing keeping them from being killed right now is the presence of the French troops and the MISCA,” she said, referring to African Union peacekeeping forces, known as MISCA.
 
Mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago, perpetrating abuses on the majority Christian population that triggered waves of revenge attacks, leading to thousands of deaths and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
 
Seleka rebels gave way in January to an interim civilian government. But the government - backed by 2,000 French and 6,000 African Union peacekeepers - has been unable to halt attacks by anti-balaka militias on Muslims, thousands of whom have fled to neighboring countries or sought shelter in camps.
 
The anti-balaka pose a particular threat to Muslims in the PK12 neighborhood of Bangui; the towns of Boda, Carnot and Berberati to the west of the capital and Bossangoa to the north, Lejeune-Kaba said.
 
“We fear for the lives of 19,000 Muslims in those locations. UNHCR stands ready to assist with their evacuation to safer areas both within and outside of the country,” she said.
 
Deterioration in Security
 
At least 60 people have been killed in Bangui since March 22, mainly in a series of clashes between anti-balaka and Muslims, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said.
 
“In the light of this further deterioration of the security situation, we once again urge states to support the secretary-general's urgent appeal for thousands more peacekeepers and police,” Pouilly told the briefing.
 
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday against any support or facilitation of violence by armed groups in Central African Republic after Chadian troops were accused of opening fire on civilians and killing at least 10 people at the weekend.
 
The Security Council began talks on Monday on a resolution to create a U.N. peacekeeping force, which could assume authority from the African Union on Sept. 15.
 
Muslims in Boda have told the UNHCR that they will leave on their own if it cannot evacuate them, Lejeune-Kaba said.
 
The agency is looking into relocating Muslims to Kabo and Moyen Sido in the north near the border with Chad, where the presence of the anti-balaka was far weaker, she said.
 
Asked whether this would not lead to partitioning CAR into a Muslim north and Christian south, Lejeune-Kaba said the relocation was to avoid an imminent threat to their lives and did not affect the whole of the country's Muslim population.
 
“Relocating people now out of danger does not preclude their return. On the contrary, what we want is to see people be able to return at some point,” she said. “But the tensions are such right now that it is just not possible. It's almost hopeless, to be honest,” Lejeune-Kaba said.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid