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Almost 1,000 people killed in two days of fighting in Central Africa Republic

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Like Syria, the Central Africa republic is closely approaching hell on earth. "Crimes that have been committed include extrajudicial executions, mutilation of bodies, intentional destruction of religious buildings such as mosques, and the forced displacement of massive numbers of people," Christian Mukosa, Amnesty International's Central Africa expert declared. It's estimated that as many as 1,000 people have been killed in two days alone in the tumultuous African nation.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Human Rights Watch say that former rebels in the CAR slaughtered hundreds in a two-day rampage earlier this month. There are renewed threats of sectarian violence in the area.

CAR has been plunged into violence and chaos ever since the Muslim-backed Seleka militia and other rebel groups from the northeast seized the capital Bangui last March.

CAR's President Francois Bozize fled to Cameroon. Michel Djotodia, who had been one of the Seleka leaders, elected himself President.

Djotodia later disbanded the Seleka, but as many as 15,000 kept their arms in order to wreak havoc in Bangui and elsewhere. Troops chiefly targeted Christian communities, which in turn formed their own vigilante group, the anti-balaka - or "anti-machete."

Anti-balaka forces staged an early morning attack in the capital on December 5. Troops went door to door in some neighborhoods, killing approximately 60 Muslim men, Amnesty International said.

De facto government forces, known as ex-Seleka, retaliated against Christians, killing nearly 1,000 men over a two-day period. A small number of women and children also were killed.

Amnesty International has called for the deployment of a "robust" U.N. peacekeeping force to protect civilians. "The continuing violence, the extensive destruction of property, and the forced displacement of the population in Bangui are feeding enormous anger, hostility and mistrust," Mukosa says.

"There can be no prospect of ending the cycle of violence until the militias are disarmed and there is proper and effective protection for the thousands of civilians at risk in the country. Residential neighborhoods must be made safe as an urgent priority in order to allow people to go back to their homes and resume their normal lives."

Human Rights Watch also reported an uptick in violence around the northern town of Bossangoa since September. They suggested that concerned countries should immediately bolster the African Union peacekeeping force in the country and support efforts by France to protect civilians.

Christian militias have attacked Muslim communities, cutting the throats of children while forcing parents to watch, the group said. Muslim groups retaliated, setting fire to Christian homes and killing their occupants with the apparent approval of commanders present, Human Rights Watch said.



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