News / Africa

US Calls for Disarmament in CAR

FILE - U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.
FILE - U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.
Margaret Besheer
— U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power has arrived in Bangui, in the Central African Republic, where she is to meet with government officials and civil society leaders about the fighting that has created a large and growing humanitarian crisis.

Ambassador Power and a small delegation arrived in the capital, Bangui, for a one-day unannounced visit Thursday.

Power told reporters in a conference call during a stop in Abuja, Nigeria, that disarming of groups fomenting violence in the country is critical to its stabilization.

“The violence has been vicious, it has been directed almost entirely at civilians, and it has been increasingly sectarian," she said. "And only with this disarmament do we think that that violence can come to an end.”
 
In March, the country descended into turmoil after mostly Muslim rebels, known as Seleka, overthrew President Francois Bozizé. Months of looting and killing have led to inter-communal fighting, as Bozizé allies and Christian militias, known as anti-balaka, engage in tit-for-tat attacks on the Seleka.
 
This month, the U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of 6,000 African and 1,600 French troops to help quell the violence. Ambassador Power’s visit coincides with the official deployment of the African force, which is known as MISCA. The United States has provided $100 million to help support and equip the mission.
 
If the French and Africans cannot stabilize the situation, the U.N. could deploy a peacekeeping force next year.
 
Ambassador Power won a Pulitzer Prize for her book about genocide, A Problem from Hell, and is a strong voice in the Obama administration for protecting human rights. She expressed concern for the more than 200,000 refugees and half-million internally displaced civilians in the C.A.R. She noted that the United States has given the country more than $23 million this year for humanitarian relief, and that more aid will follow in 2014.
 
Power said the world has been witness to great atrocities before, and has a responsibility to prevent the situation in central Africa from deteriorating further.
 
“Direct comparisons with other past crises are inevitably flawed, but it is worth noting that Somalia taught us what can happen in a failed state, and Rwanda showed us what can occur in a deeply divided one. The people in Central African Republic are in profound danger, and we all have a responsibility which we must meet to help them move away from the abyss,” said Power.
 
A senior administration official traveling with the ambassador said the Obama administration is deeply concerned about the sectarian nature of the violence. The official added that human rights violators must be held accountable.
 
The U.S. administration hopes the security situation will stabilize over the next several weeks so that urgently needed relief can reach civilians in isolated, affected areas of the C.A.R., and further atrocities can be prevented. The official said Washington wants to see security restored and borders managed, preventing extremists from trying to take advantage of the political chaos.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid