Monday, May 01, 2017

The CAR Civil War

Violent conflict between rebel groups has been raging in the Central African Republic for years. Aid agencies are warning that the humanitarian situation is worsening dramatically.

In October 2013, the Seleka group, made up of a Muslim majority, rebelled against the government, accusing it of neglect and marginalization. They plundered entire towns and villages, leading to the formation of the anti-Balaka movement. Originally, a defense group comprising a majority of Christians, over time, the militia fell into the hands of uncontrollable gangs of armed youth.
In 2016, CAR voters elected an official government, but its power and control does not extend outside the capital, Bangui. Instead, the country has become increasingly polarized along religious and ethnic lines. Fourteen armed rebel groups are now active in the country. There are frequent clashes in which the civilian population is caught between the fronts. In the region around Koui alone, 15,000 people have had to flee their homes in recent months.
In Koui, Commander Sidiki Abass is the man in charge. Wearing a turban and white robe, he stands in front of his house, guarded by heavily armed men. Once a cattle herder, Abass is now the leader of the 3R rebel group. According to his own account, he has more than 1,000 fighters. International rights group, Human Rights Watch, has accused the group of carrying out human rights violations which include torture and rape
"There is no difference between the Muslims and the Christians here," says Pastor Leon Dollet. "We have always lived in harmony," Dollet tells DW. "It is the 3R and the anti-Balaka who are causing tensions. But we want to live together peacefully again. And we want the displaced people from the neighboring villages to return and live with us again."

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