Dangerous spiral of attacks in CAR, UN says

2014-06-25 07:55
Ex-Seleka rebels drive in a truck in Bangui in CAR. (Fred Dufour, AFP)

Ex-Seleka rebels drive in a truck in Bangui in CAR. (Fred Dufour, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - The conflict-torn Central African Republic is experiencing a dangerous spiral of attacks and reprisals and a radicalisation of Christian and Muslim militias, the UN envoy to the country said on Tuesday.

Babacar Gaye told the UN Security Council by videoconference from the capital, Bangui, that this risks having the situation in the country "fester".

Central African Republic has been in turmoil since an alliance of Muslim rebel groups known as the Seleka overthrew the long-time president in March 2013.

They quickly became despised by Christians in the capital after Muslim fighters went on looting sprees, raping and killing civilians at random. An armed Christian movement known as the anti-Balaka, aided by the ex-president's loyalists, began retaliating several months later, sparking sectarian bloodshed.

Seleka was forced from power in January, a transitional government has been established and about 2 000 French troops and nearly 5 000 African peacekeepers are trying to stabilize the country, which is about the size of Texas. But the violence continues, and tens of thousands of Muslims have fled to the north or to neighboring countries.

The UN Security Council authorised a nearly 12 000-strong UN peacekeeping force for Central African Republic in April, but it will not take over from the African troops until 15 September.

Human rights

Gaye, the UN special representative, said violations of human rights and international humanitarian law continue to be committed by all armed groups and civilians who possess weapons, and the need to protect civilians is "enormous".

Over half a million people remain displaced and half the population needs humanitarian assistance, he said.

Gaye said the political situation "has deteriorated noticeably over the past month," with growing criticism of the transitional government's inability to improve security.

This risks undermining the authority of a government that is already struggling to govern the country without its own security forces and financial means, he said.

"At the same time, the political elite is deeply divided, and there is a high level of political and social antagonism and distrust among political actors and between communities," Gaye said. "This does not bode well for the holding of credible elections early next year."

He said disarmament and an inclusive political dialogue are essential steps to achieve lasting security.

'The situation is desperate'

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women who visited the Central African Republic last month with her counterpart from the African Union, told the council that "what we heard and what we saw was terrifying".

"In displacement camps all over the country, including the one we visited, the situation is desperate," she said. "People seek shelter under tarpaulins or even pieces of cloth in inhumane conditions, surrounded by dirty puddles of stagnant water and garbage, vulnerable to waterborne diseases."

Mlambo-Ngcuka cited numerous reports of rape, sexual slavery and early and forced marriage.

Many girls and women have become pregnant, miscarried or contracted sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, she said, and 90% of camps for the displaced have no medical or psychosocial services for survivors of gender-based violence.

In almost every camp, Mlambo-Ngcuka said, "there are an untold number of pregnant women who do not have access to basic reproductive and obstetric care".

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  phumzile mlambo-ngcuka  |  central african republic  |  central africa

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to day...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.