World News

US Official Visits CAR, Calls for Violent Groups to Disarm

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is in the Central African Republic to discuss the country's increasingly brutal violence with government officials and civil society leaders.

Power arrived in the capital, Bangui, on Thursday for a one-day visit. She told reporters during a stop in Nigeria that disarming the groups behind the fighting is critical to stabilizing the country.

"The violence has been vicious, it has been directed almost entirely against civilians, and it has been increasingly sectarian. And only with this disarmament do we think that that violence can come to an end."

The CAR slipped into chaos after mostly Muslim rebels, known as Seleka, toppled president Francois Bozize in March. Months of looting and killing have brought retaliation by Bozize allies and Christian militias known as anti-balaka.

Human rights groups expressed renewed alarm over the situation Thursday.

Amnesty International said more than 1,000 people had been killed in Bangui since violence flared earlier this month. The death toll is significantly higher than what had been reported by relief organizations.

Human Rights Watch issued a report saying the Christian militias have committed atrocities against Muslims in a cycle of violence that "threatens to spin out of control."

The group highlighted alleged brutality by the militias in Ouham province, where it said fighters have slit the throats of women and children.

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, says there is a high potential for more mass violence.

"We documented many cases in which both Christians and Muslims were targeted because of their religion and their attackers made statements like, 'We will kill all the Muslims in the country.' We've documented where children as young as three years old had their throats cut by the attackers. So we're talking about extreme violence and communal violence. And once that communal violence sets in, it's very difficult to stop."

French and African Union troops in Bangui are attempting to stop the violence and restore order.

The African Union recently boosted the planned number of troops in an African-led support mission in CAR, known as MISCA, from about 3,600 to 6,000 troops.

The transfer of troop authority from the Economic Community of Central African States to MISCA is taking place on Thursday.

In an interview with VOA , AU spokesman El Ghassim Wane said MISCA's leadership has already begun work in Bangui.

The U.N. refugee agency says fighting in the capital has displaced more than 200,000 people this month.

The U.N. humanitarian office says an estimated two million people are need of humanitarian assistance, with one million people suffering from lack of food.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs