News / Africa

    Violence Takes Toll on CAR's People

    A national police car passes by Muslim Centrafricans riding aboard trucks on their way to their villages in Bangui, three days before elections for the next interim President of Centrafrica, Jan. 17, 2014.
    A national police car passes by Muslim Centrafricans riding aboard trucks on their way to their villages in Bangui, three days before elections for the next interim President of Centrafrica, Jan. 17, 2014.
    Nick Long
    Life was never easy for most people in the Central African Republic, one of the continent's poorest countries, plagued by banditry and bad governance for many years.  But the violence that has engulfed the CAR for the past year has taken the situation, for many, to a new low. 

    Kpetene is a neighbourhood in the south of Bangui where according to locals there haven’t been any clashes between the rival militias - the largely Muslim Seleka and the largely Christian or animist anti-Balaka - that have killed hundreds if not thousands elsewhere in the country in the past year.

    But talk to anyone in Kpetene and they seem to have lost friends and relatives in the violence.

    Abel Nguerefara is a teacher who travelled to the southwestern town of Banguassou last March just after the Seleka had taken control of Bangui.

    He said on the way there, he was shocked to find all the administrative buildings had been looted, with documents burned or littering the streets, while Catholic missions had seen their vehicles stolen.

    He said on arrival at Banguassou, he learned a Seleka combatant had been killed there and in reprisal the Seleka had taken the local chief, who had stayed with the combatant’s body, and cut his throat. They then killed everyone they could see, he says, and he adds that his younger brother was there and they cut his throat too.

    Another teacher now living in Kpetene, Vianney Kpokpo, told VOA he was in the northern town of Bossangoa last September when the anti-Balaka started attacking the Seleka and other Muslims.

    One evening, he said, he and his family were at home and he was taking a shower when he saw two Seleka come into the house and they started shooting - first at his little boy, a two-year-old, and then at his younger brother who was surfing the Internet.  He said both were killed, the house was burned and he escaped with just the towel he had around him.

    A few months later, Kpokpo’s family house in Bangui, where he’s been living with his parents, was also burned down and he’s now left with almost nothing.  He cannot find a job, as all his documents were destroyed, and his health is in an increasingly bad state.

    He said he has vertigo, he can’t sleep and his stomach is upset.  A doctor gave him a prescription for medicines but he can’t afford them.  He said at night he lies in bed crying - he just can’t get it together.

    Outside the church where we’ve been talking to Kpokpo, the first people we meet tell us matter-of-factly about their friends and neighbors who were killed recently.

    Ferdinand Grekoy, said his neighbor next door was killed, and an ex-policeman who lived over there -- he points to a house some 30 metres away - was killed behind that house, along with a Congolese man.

    He explained that the Seleka, who he blames for the killings, were retaliating for things that had happened in another district.

    There were clashes in the PK12 district, he said, and the Seleka came through here to take their revenge, twice in one day and again two days later.  But there have never been clashes between the Seleka and the anti-Balaka here in Kpetene, he insisted.

    Before we leave Kpetene, after spending just over an hour there, the teacher Abel Olivier Nguefrara said he just talked to someone in Bouar, a town in the northwest, who said conditions are really bad there.

    He said the woman told him that about 50 corpses were found in Bouar on Thursday, and people have been coming to reclaim the bodies.  He said nearly all of those people are Muslims.

    As we drive away we see French armored cars parked nearby.  Our taxi driver said three bodies were found there in the morning.

    The CAR’s transitional national parliament is due to elect a new interim president Monday. The U.S. government has urged the parliamentarians to choose the new leader transparently, and to select a leader of integrity who can restore stability to this chaotic, strife-torn country.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora