No end in sight for the violence in the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic has suffered religious conflicts for many long, grueling months conflict wages between Christian and Muslim militants.
The village of Boda is located in one of Africa’s poorest nations, Central African Republic. Since the latter part of 2012, the village has been the center of a battle for political power between Muslims and Christians.
If any villagers go past either of the bridges, they run the risk of being killed. There is the constant presence of French military in the village. Retaliation has claimed the lives of thousands. Boda used to be peaceful, with its shops and markets opened to all.
Today, Christian militia fighters surround the village and the Muslims inside live their days and nights in total fear. Captain Dopani Firmin, who is known as one of the Christian leaders in Boda, has claimed to have the right to kill Muslims. He also said that they would wait as long as it takes for the Muslims to leave. As long as they remain in the community, the Christian militia would be there to stand their ground and fight for what they claim is theirs.
In a rebel attack on a clinic in Boguila, three aid workers were killed along with 19 other civilians. The attack happened during the last few days of April when the Medecins Sans Frontieres (or Doctors Without Borders), a medical charity, was attacked. Besides the three charity aid workers, 15 of those who were killed were local chiefs.
As a result, the charity organization has decided to withdraw its aid for the safety of its people.
This attack has been blamed, for the most part, on the rebels of the Muslim Seleka. It was this group that originally flared the crisis last year when they attempted to seize power. It seems that the medical charity was targeted because the rebels wanted money since they were aware that local chiefs were having a meeting at the building.
A day after the attack on the medical charity, over 1,200 Muslims were escorted out of the capital, Bangui, by peacekeepers. They were taken out of the area for their own safety. Within minutes of their evacuation, looters hit the area stripping homes, businesses and even the mosque. With all of the violence and friction in the area, many Muslims are calling for an official partition.
Since this hostile movement began in 2013, nearly a quarter of the population has been forced out of their homes; for many, they left the only home they ever knew. Many have tried to make peace between the Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic but have failed.
France has sent a force of 2,000 and the African peacekeeping force sent in 5,000 African Union Troops. However, they have so far been unsuccessful at settling the situation.
The United Nations is now stepping in as part of the international effort to help. They will be sending in 12,000 peacekeepers from the United Nations Security Council, but they are not expected for several months. Some critics believe that if the U.N. Peacekeepers do not arrive sooner than currently scheduled, they may be too late.
As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has stated, “The country stands on the brink of genocide; some would say it has already commenced.”