News / Africa

UN Panel: Expel Militia Fighters From CAR Armed Forces

Seleka fighters patrol as they search for Anti-Balaka Christian militia members in the town of Lioto June 6, 2014.
Seleka fighters patrol as they search for Anti-Balaka Christian militia members in the town of Lioto June 6, 2014.
Nick Long

U.N. experts have called for militia fighters to be expelled from the Central African Republic's armed forces, but other observers said that's easier said than done and might jeopardize upcoming peace talks.

The call came in an interim report released this month on the communal violence sparked last year between mostly Muslim Seleka rebels who took power and mostly Christian anti-balaka militias. 

Since then, thousands of people have been killed and half the country's population displaced.   

A United Nations panel, investigating the sources of weapons and funds that belong to the two main militia groups in the C.A.R., said militia fighters need to be excluded from the country's security forces.

The report said the armed forces have been a main source of weapons, fueling the conflict, and the lines between who is a solider and who is a militiaman are blurred.

But experts do not all agree on the subject of integration versus exclusion.

Kasper Agger has been investigating C.A.R.'s armed groups for the U.S.-based Enough Project.

"On paper, it sounds like a good idea if you could just remove those that are members of the army and also anti-balaka. Practically speaking, I am not sure how it would happen,” Aggers said.

“Vetting who are members of the armed groups and who are not is an extremely complicated process. And unless you go in with the right capacity to do this then I fear you would do more harm than good,” he said.

Unrealistic

Human Rights Watch's Lewis Mudge agreed that it is unrealistic to think of excluding all militia members from the army, as there are just too many of them.

In fact, he said, more of them will ultimately need to be incorporated in the army.

"I think any type of reconciliation between the transitional government and the Seleka forces is going to have to incorporate further soldiers from both sides being incorporated into the security forces,” Mudge said.

The national army known, as the FACA, disintegrated last year as Seleka rebels marched on the capital, Bangui.

After the Seleka lost control of Bangui to French and African Union peacekeepers, the FACA started to reassemble. The national army is now being paid with donor funding, but Aggers said there is little trust these soldiers can act as a neutral force and they have no real function.

"They don't have specific tasks at the moment. They do have to meet up at the barracks - I think it's once a week or once a month. They're not given any weapons or anything, but they do walk around and wear their uniforms, and they're paid,” Aggers said.

This issue of who participates in the security forces will likely be key to reaching a peace deal and the players at the table will include both factions.  

The first indication may come this weekend in Brazzaville - where anti-balaka and Seleka representatives may sign a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, outside the capital, the U.N. said most inhabited areas of the country are under militia control, despite the presence of some 8,000 French and African peacekeepers in the C.A.R.

Militia fighting

In the strategic town of Bambari, for example, Mudge, of Human Rights Watch, said a relatively strong concentration of peacekeepers have been unable to prevent rival groups from slaughtering scores of people.

"I can't give you an exact number of how many peacekeepers are there because they wouldn't tell me for strategic reasons. But it was a good amount. We saw lots of French troops in armored vehicles patrolling the town,” Mudge said.

“The problem is that the Seleka still completely control Bambari. They're patrolling the streets in pickup trucks with heavy armament on top. In the Muslim neighborhood of Borno, one out of every three men had a rifle or a Kalashnikov. So disarmament has not been effective,” he added.

Most experts stress the need for local as well as national dialogue to reach reconciliation, and above all, job creation schemes to help many combatants return to civilian life.   

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
July 18, 2014 12:56 PM
peace sustainable and advances human rights Central African Republic

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More