Avoiding a CAR crash. Helping the Central African Republic avoid another catastrophe – | KAGO-BANDORO


The World Bank used to shun war zones. No longer

HOOPS of razor wire overlooked by guard towers mark the border between order and chaos in Kaga-Bandoro, a market town in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR). On one side are the ordered rows of white tents and shelters of the UN’s “Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic” (MINUSCA), a 13,000-strong peacekeeping force. On the other, huddling under the guns of the Pakistani battalion billeted here, are the tarpaulins that shelter some 12,000-15,000 people in one of the world’s newest refugee camps.

They have fled not once, but at least twice. Many had already sought safety in a nearby camp after their homes were destroyed. In October, however, the refugee camp was attacked and burned down by members of Seleka, the remnants of mostly Muslim militias which had toppled the government in 2013. “Six men were threatening me with knives,” says Paul Fradjala, the head of the local government in town, twisting and turning his shoulders to demonstrate how he wriggled free and ran. Yet even under the guns of the peacekeepers, security is illusory. “If someone kills someone in front of you, there is nothing you can do,” says Mr Fradjala of the crowded new camp that encircles the UN base.

Diamonds and Sacrifices (Excerpt from ‘United in Hate: Central African Republic’) – Vice News Published on Dec 30, 2015


In March 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of predominantly Muslim-armed groups from the northeast, marched on the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and seized power.

They committed mass atrocities against the population, and to the largely Christian population in the southwest, Muslims began to be associated with violence. They took up arms to form a Christian self-defense militia called the anti-balaka, and carried out revenge killings.

By the end of 2013, the Central African Republic had descended into civil war. Under pressure from the international community, the Seleka were forced to give up power and retreated towards the northeast, where they regrouped.

A United Nations peacekeeping mission and a French military operation were able to stem the fighting, but despite their presence, the transitional government has not been able to regain control of the country outside Bangui.

With the anti-balaka controlling the southwest, and the Seleka controlling the northeast, the Central African Republic is de facto partitioned along ethno-religious lines. For those who find themselves on the wrong side of the divide, life has become hell.

In this excerpt, the coordinator of the anti-balaka movement in Carnot takes VICE News to a diamond mine he oversees, which was reclaimed from Muslim owners during the recent conflict.

Inside PK5 (Extra Scene from ‘United in Hate: Central African Republic’) – Vice News Published on Dec 16, 2015


In March 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of predominantly Muslim-armed groups from the northeast, marched on the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and seized power.

They committed mass atrocities against the population, and to the largely Christian population in the southwest, Muslims began to be associated with violence. They took up arms to form a Christian self-defense militia called the anti-balaka, and carried out revenge killings.

By the end of 2013, the Central African Republic had descended into civil war. Under pressure from the international community, the Seleka were forced to give up power and retreated towards the northeast, where they regrouped.

A United Nations peacekeeping mission and a French military operation were able to stem the fighting, but despite their presence, the transitional government has not been able to regain control of the country outside Bangui.

With the anti-balaka controlling the southwest, and the Seleka controlling the northeast, the Central African Republic is de facto partitioned along ethno-religious lines. For those who find themselves on the wrong side of the divide, life has become hell.

In this extra scene, VICE News goes to PK5, a predominantly Muslim enclave of the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, which has seen some of the most violent and brutal fighting between Muslim and Christian communities since the start of the conflict.

Watch “United in Hate: The Fight for Control in CAR” – http://bit.ly/1O38HyY

United in Hate: Central African Republic (Trailer) – Vice News Published on Nov 27, 2015


In March 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of predominantly Muslim-armed groups from the northeast, marched on the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and seized power.

They committed mass atrocities against the population, and to the largely Christian population in the southwest, Muslims began to be associated with violence. They took up arms to form a Christian self-defense militia called the anti-balaka, and carried out revenge killings.

By the end of 2013, the Central African Republic had descended into civil war. Under pressure from the international community, the Seleka were forced to give up power and retreated towards the northeast, where they regrouped.

A United Nations peacekeeping mission and a French military operation were able to stem the fighting, but despite their presence, the transitional government has not been able to regain control of the country outside Bangui.

With the anti-balaka controlling the southwest, and the Seleka controlling the northeast, the Central African Republic is de facto partitioned along ethno-religious lines. For those who find themselves on the wrong side of the divide, life has become hell.

VICE News goes to the Central African Republic, to witness a brutal fight for economic and political control and find out what’s happening to those caught in the middle.

Watch “Blood Diamonds and Religious War: Diamonds and Division” – http://bit.ly/1Yy8U5f

Blood Diamonds and Religious War: Diamonds and Division (Trailer) – Vice News Published on Jan 26, 2015


The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world, but it is also rich in natural resources. One of the official mining sectors has collapsed amid the country’s ongoing conflict, and now both sides are benefitting from the illicit trade of gold and diamonds. Clashes over control of the many mines have also created religious tension in places where there previously had been none.

VICE News traveled to mines located in the heart of the Central African Republic to see how the battle over natural resources is playing out in one of the world’s most violent conflicts.

The Human Cost of War in the Central African Republic – Published on Jan 20, 2015


In 2013, a Muslim rebel group named the Seleka led a coup in the Central African Republic, overthrowing the Christian President Francois Bozize and bringing the country into an ethno-religious civil war. Later that year, VICE News traveled to the CAR to cover the conflict which has left over 5,000 dead and nearly a million displaced.

Due to the combination of the upcoming February presidential election, the looming exit of French peacekeeping forces, and the total handover to the MINUSCA United Nations troops, the situation in the CAR is extremely fragile. With the conflict entering its third year, questions remain about how to quell the violence, which the UN describes as “The Silent Crisis.”

VICE News returned to the CAR in 2014 to further document the ongoing conflict and to meet those living through the prevailing chaos.

Producer’s Note: This documentary was filmed in July and August 2014 in the Central African Republic (CAR). An earlier version of the documentary cited statistics regarding internally displaced people (IDPs) in CAR — namely that 100,000 IDPs are living in a camp near the M’Poko International Airport.

According to a January 2015 report by The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) regarding IDPs in CAR, these figures have become outdated. They have been removed from this version of the documentary. Approximately 20,000 IDPs are currently living in the camp, according to the ACAPS report.

The Muslims of the Central African Republic Face a Deadly Purge – By Andrew Katz @katz Feb. 20, 2014


CENTRAFRICA-UNREST-CHAD
Eric Feferberg / AFP/ Getty Images
Chadian civilians in the PK12 district of Bangui climb on a military truck to go back to Chad on Jan. 15, 2014.

The anti-balaka have outgrown their name. These militias in the Central African Republic, once united under a moniker meaning “anti-machete” in the local Sango language, are exacting their own vicious revenge upon the mainly Muslim rebels who overthrew the government last March and waged months of terror against the Christian population. They are now accused of atrocities far worse than what first prompted them to take up arms.

An Amnesty International report on Feb. 12 said attacks on Muslims in January by anti-balaka militias, made up of Christians and animists, had amounted to “ethnic cleansing.” Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, has already opened a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity, saying some “victims appeared to have been deliberately targeted on religious grounds.” A top U.N. official issued similar warnings during a recent visit to the ravaged capital, Bangui, telling reporters: “There is an ethnic-religious cleansing taking place. It must be stopped.”

The campaign of looting and murder in recent weeks has led to an alarming demographic crisis in the Central African Republic. About 1 million of its 4.6 million people have been displaced and at least 2,000 have been killed. Muslims account for 15 percent of the population, or about 690,000 people; Médecins Sans Frontières said in a conference call with reporters on Feb. 18 that at least 80,000 had already left.

Entire neighborhoods in Bangui and towns in the northwest have emptied as a mass exodus pours into neighboring countries Cameroon and Chad. Aid groupsfear the fleeing of Muslim traders and cattle herders, who are crucial to the country’s food production and distribution, may spark a famine.

The scene today vastly differs from last year. “If you drove across the country in November, you would have been impressed by the power of the Séléka,” says Joanne Mariner, a senior crisis adviser with Amnesty in Bangui, referring to the impact of the rebels’ offensive that began in late 2012. “Now if you drive across the country, you find anti-balaka everywhere. They are the people who are in control of the roads and the majority of the towns.”

William Lacy Swing, director-general of the International Organization for Migration and a young U.S. envoy to Bangui in the mid-1970s, was “shocked” by the scenes there during a trip in early February. “The Central African Republic that I knew at the time, this element now of inter-religious conflict was absent,” he told TIME, “and now it is at the heart of some of the problems.”

How political payback turned into a sectarian purge isn’t entirely understood. Experts gesture to spillover from conflicts throughout the region as well as the legacy of decades of poor governance in the former French colony.

Article and photos follow:

http://world.time.com/2014/02/20/central-african-republic-muslims-ethnic-cleansing/