'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

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

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....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.