Central African Republic: A Brewing Crisis

The scars left from Darfur are still healing while another crisis rocks the North African continent. The Central African Republic is currently undergoing civil war and anarchy that has displaced thousands and is rapidly becoming a humanitarian crisis.

The Christian and Muslim militias that are violently fighting in villages across the country have murdered and caused destruction to the country systemically and maliciously. Christians claim that the Seleka (a Muslim rebel group) began to loot, rape, and kill following the election of their leader, Michel Djotodia, as president in March of 2013. The Christians have been retaliating since the attacks began, leaving the Central African Republic a place unsafe for civilians. The country is mostly populated with Christians, making Muslims a minority group. Djotodia was the country’s first Muslim president, and once rebels had taken control of the government, the attacks commenced.

Former CAR Prime Minister Faustin Touadera with President Obama and the First Lady.

Former CAR Prime Minister Faustin Touadera with President Obama and the First Lady.

Talk of genocide has been circulating as a horrific display of mass violence is engulfing the country. “The violence includes torture, lynchings, beheadings, rape, drownings, people being set on fire, many ending up in mass graves.” (NBC) A UN spokeswoman called the crisis, “like Darfur, plus anarchy.” This statement not only stresses the severity and intensity of the religious conflict, but also reminds us this is not a solitary incident. Africa has been engaged in Christian and Muslim-fueled controversy and violence before. At this point, Central Africa Republic residents just want to know when the fighting will stop.

The camps housing refugees from the conflict care for many who have lost a multitude of family members to the violence. Disease is rampant and the refugees are living in squalor. This terrible situation brings to mind the same atrocities seen in Darfur and Syria. NBC’s The Today Show recently interviewed a girl in one of the camps who was recently orphaned. The girl spoke of watching her mother being killed by militiamen, “I raised my hands to God like this but they didn’t listen to me. Finally they killed my mother.”

President Djotodia was recently forced to resign at a regional summit – a decisive step which has caused many to speculate to the hypothetical outcome of this report. On one hand, the Seleka could lose impetus and the violence could simmer down until it eventually subsides to allow the restoration of order. But on the other hand, without a president, the violent conflict could be completely uncontrollable and wreak even more havoc on the country and its inhabitants.

Hopefully, the Central African Republic will soon be rid of these trying times and look towards implementing a brighter future.

— Megan Evershed, World News Editor

Posted by on January 13, 2014. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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