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Reuters: Besieged Muslims face murder, starvation in C.African Republic

An internally displaced Muslim boy stands in front of his mother who is carrying another child in Boda

Besieged Muslims face murder, starvation in C.African Republic

By Emmanuel Braun (Reuters)

BODA Central African Republic (Reuters) – In normal times, the rickety wooden bridges at each end of the red-dirt main street in Boda were gateways to shops and a bustling market in the diamond-mining town in Central African Republic.

Today, they mark the fine line between life and death for hundreds of Muslims living under siege, encircled by Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militia fighters bent on chasing out the country’s Islamic population.

“We live in a prison,” said Adou Kone, a tailor. “Everything is blocked, nothing comes in. It’s very expensive to buy food … Our life is at a critical stage.”

Boda illustrates the chaos that has gripped Central African Republic since late 2012 when a battle for political power degenerated into clashes between Muslims and Christians that have forced about 1 million people from their homes.

If they stray beyond either bridge, Muslims in Boda say they would be killed, like thousands of other victims of tit-for-tat violence that continues despite the deployment of French and African peacekeepers.

French flags hang from some shacks and a handful of French armoured vehicles sporadically patrol the town, 115 km (70 miles) west of the capital Bangui. In the Muslim neighbourhood, a banner praises French troops – recognition that their plight would have been far worse without the deployment.

The crisis abruptly ended a proud history of Muslims living in harmony alongside the majority Christian population and has prompted warnings of genocide in the former French colony.

“We can wait for 10 years for them to leave – and if they don’t leave, we will still be there, holding our positions,” said Captain Dopani Firmin, the ‘anti-balaka’ chief in Boda, wearing a red Paris St Germain football shirt.

“We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term,” Firmin said. “It’s our right to kill Muslims.”

ETHNIC-RELIGIOUS CLEANSING

In a sign of the mounting sectarian violence, fighters from the Muslim Seleka rebels shot dead the priest of the northern town of Paoua, a church official in Bangui said on Friday. The attack came two days after Seleka gunmen briefly kidnapped the bishop of the nearby town of Bossangoa.

Virtually all Muslims have fled Bangui since Seleka, who seized power in March 2013, were forced to step aside in January. The United Nations has since reported a “cleansing” of Muslims from the country’s west. [ID:nL1N0M31ZW]

The United Nations Security Council this month authorised a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to be deployed in September, recognition that 6,000 peacekeepers from the African peacekeeping force (MISCA) and France’s 2,000-strong Sangaris force had failed to stamp their authority on the country.

But the operation will take time to roll out and assaults on Muslims in Boda and elsewhere are taking a heavy toll.

“While we await the deployment on Sept. 15, it is essential that we reinforce MISCA and Sangaris, whose numbers are insufficient to stabilise this country,” Abdou Dieng, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, told a news conference.

The United Nations says over half the population of 4.5 million people needs humanitarian aid but donors have provided less than 30 percent of the $550 million needed for emergency relief. Dieng said attacks on aid workers outside Bangui had also complicated the delivery of aid, amid fears the impending rainy season would worsen disease and malnutrition.

 

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  • Reynardine

    It’s not that unlikely. They have become so emboldened that I believe they are at least contemplating the seizure of power outside the realm of free and fair elections.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    UN – United Nothing.
    Don’t hold your breath. Why should it be any different or any better than what the UN did for the Bosniaks in 1992-95. If the Bosniaks, who are at least white (Europeans) are of so little account for them (I mean those who have veto power at the UNSC, the others I’m afraid don’t count, their presence is purely decorative), then imagine how much less some African or Asian Muslims must count for them. The veto powers at the UN have at some time, or continue to, harbor a quite racist attitude, or have authoritarian/totalitarian political structures (China, Russia, but the US and France aren’t really so far behind…) The UN, like its predecessor, the League of Nations, has ever been just another instrument for the mighty to enforce their particular interests at the expense of unprotected populations and minorities. Not to prevent war, atrocities, and genocide. Far from it. See how Putin through his veto protects Assad and makes it possible for him to commit genocide. In ALL impunity. Don’t count on the UN, it’s just a fig leaf, and a very threadbare one at that. A provider of sinecures at best.

  • Yes, they did do better than most Muslim countries that will have no problem providing billions of dollars to the Egyptian Military to squash the Brotherhood but will do nothing for the Muslims in CAR.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    That’s because in this world, evil outweighs good. I see it day to day. In little things, like that those with power always tend to make life miserable for those who haven’t got any. Be it your immediate superior or boss at the job, big brother or sister at home when you were kids, the schoolyard or neighborhood bully, the mother-in-law, teacher or professor or instructor, no matter how small and limited this power might be, if they have it they will use it against you. Because they can do it and it makes them feel so good, so superior. And those who can commit genocide, will do it if given the chance, from the party or faction leader down to the small-fry militiaman. It’s a constant of human history. Ever wonder why it is written that “you will be asked about the good that was given to you”, that is, what people have done with their lives. Which leads me to the conclusion, to quote Douglas Adams that “life is wasted on the living.” Indeed, for a lot of people it is. Because they derive a cheaply obtained pleasure from making others suffer.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    We’ve seen that. In Bosnia-Herzegovina. We’re seeing that in Burma. Will we see it in Crimea too? That the “International Community” will respond in the same way (by looking the other way, wringing their hands, procrastinating) and that we will see it elsewhere (or resume where it already was done) is a foregone conclusion.

    That people with far-right, fascist, genocidal ideas will some time rule the United States seems unlikely at the moment, still, be wary.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    “We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term,â€? Radovan Karadzic’s exact words. I see it’s the same, everywhere.

    So “it’s their right to kill Muslims”??? Should I judge anybody who makes genocidal anti-Muslim statements by that standard? I think I should! Indeed I will!
    Death is TOO GOOD for such an individual. Think of the most hideous, painful thing a humanbeing can do to another, and you’ll still fall short of what those people deserve. Complete and utter annihilation of body and soul. May their very names cease to exist. As an example to anybody who harbors such ideas!
    Even though I must admit that any acts of randomly-directed revenge by Muslims won’t help at all.

  • Mohamed Al Saadoon

    Considering the French managed to disarm the Muslims Seleka rebels but not the anti-balaka, they didn’t do better than most Muslim countries.

  • GFRF

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.�

    ― Voltaire.

  • GFRF

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.�

    ― Voltaire

  • That’s better than what most Muslim countries are doing.

  • Carlos Danger

    Sounds like the future of Muslims in the US under a President Pipes, President Geller, President Spencer, President Breivik, or President Horowitz:

    “We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term,â€? ……“It’s our right to kill Muslims.â€?

  • Mohamed Al Saadoon

    The French Government could spare two fighter jet squadrons, 5000 troops and several ships to fight Muslims in Mali but can barely sustain 1600 troops in CAR…

  • mindy1

    Sad that you are not even safe to live in your own country :'(

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    CNN

    U.S. right wing extremists more deadly than jihadists

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/14/opinion/bergen-sterman-kansas-shooting/

  • John Smith

    Just hold on till September. Then hopefully the UN will be able to turn the tide.

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