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

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs at Global Summit Tackle Range of Challenges

    Innovators strive to halt sexual harassment in India, improve rural health in Myanmar, build businesses in Africa

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora