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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid