'Ethnic cleansing' taking place in CAR

2014-02-12 09:41
Newly enlisted FACA soldiers drag the lifeless body of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Newly enlisted FACA soldiers drag the lifeless body of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui. (Jerome Delay, AP)

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

kalahari.com

Libreville - "Ethnic cleansing" is being carried out against Muslim civilians in the Central African Republic, with international peacekeepers unable to prevent it, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

France's defence minister earlier called on international forces deployed in the Christian-majority country to put an end to attacks by the militias "by force if needed".

Amnesty said it had documented at least 200 killings of Muslim civilians by Christian militia groups known as the anti-balaka, set up in the wake of the March 2013 coup by the mainly-Muslim Seleka rebellion.

"'Ethnic cleansing' of Muslims has been carried out in the western part of the Central African Republic, the most populous part of the country, since early January 2014," Amnesty International said in a report.

"Entire Muslim communities have been forced to flee, and hundreds of Muslim civilians who have not managed to escape have been killed by the loosely organised militias known as anti-balaka."

The group said attacks against Muslims had been committed "with the stated intent to forcibly displace these communities from the country," with many anti-balaka fighters viewing Muslims as "'foreigners' who should leave the country or be killed".

"They appear to be achieving their aims, with Muslims being forced out of the country in increasingly large numbers," it said.

Interreligious violence

The country descended into chaos last March after the rebellion overthrew the government, sparking deadly violence that has uprooted a million people out of a population of 4.6 million.

Atrocities, the fear of attacks and a lack of food have displaced a quarter of the country's population, while the United Nations and relief agencies estimate that at least two million people need humanitarian assistance.

The landlocked country has been prone to coups, rebellions and mutinies for decades, but the explosion in interreligious violence is unprecedented.

Amnesty urged international peacekeeping forces in the country to "take rapid steps to break anti-balaka control over the country's road network, and to station sufficient troops in towns where Muslims are threatened".

It called for international troops to be granted the necessary resources to achieve this, warning of a "tragedy of historic proportions" that could set a precedent for other countries in the region struggling with sectarian or ethnic conflict.

There are currently 5 300 African Union troops operating under a UN mandate in the former French colony, and the force is expected to reach 6 000 by March.

France has deployed 1 600 troops, while the EU has promised to deploy 500 troops at the beginning of March and the United States is providing logistical support.

France's defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said last week that while the presence of French troops had brought back some stability to the capital Bangui, it had not done so for the rest of the country.

International response

During a visit Tuesday to Brazzaville in Congo, Le Drian said that "all militias who continue to be involved in mob violence and commit murder must stop".

French troops and the African Union-led support mission in CAR must "implement the UN resolutions, by force if needed", he added.

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is a mediator in the conflict, said for his part: "It is the duty of the international community to act with more firmness and diligence to end the reign of barbarism."

In New York, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon told reporters: "The sectarian brutality is changing the country's demography. The de facto partition of the CAR is a distinct risk."

He added: "The international response does not yet match the gravity of the situation.

"We must do more to prevent more atrocities, protect civilians, restore law and order, provide humanitarian assistance and hold the country together."

Read more on:    un  |  amnesty international  |  ban ki-moon  |  central african republic  |  central africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
19 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Oscar Pistorius
 

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when the...read more

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.