World
African force declares war on C. Africa's 'anti-balaka' groupPublish Date: Mar 26, 2014
African force declares war on C. Africa's 'anti-balaka' group
  • mail
  • img
An anti-balaka militiaman walks down a street of Bossambele, Central African Republic. AFP Photo
newvision

 

Bangui (Central African Republic)  - The head of African peacekeepers in the Central African Republic said Wednesday that vigilante groups known as "anti-balaka" will be considered and treated as "enemies" from now on. 

The announcement by Congolese General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko followed days of fighting in which around 20 people died and peacekeepers were fired on in the former French colony.

"From now on, we consider the anti-balaka as enemies of (the African peacekeeping force) MISCA," Mokoko said in remarks carried by a private radio station. "And we will treat them as such."

"They even fire on people who are here to try to end this crisis on behalf of the Central African people to which they belong," the general said.

He said MISCA blames the majority Christian anti-balaka for attacks against the peacekeepers, who are working alongside French troops, to disarm both sides in a year of inter-religious violence in the impoverished majority-Christian nation.

Muslim residents of Bangui have been besieged for weeks by the anti-balaka as well as by looters in the PK-5 commercial district of the city.

Both French and African troops opened fire during the weekend fighting, according to military officials. Local residents said they shot dead eight members of the anti-balaka, including a militia leader.

Also Wednesday, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, arrived in Bangui at the start of a three-day visit to the capital and the northeast of the country, the ICRC said in a statement.

"Months of unprecedented armed conflict and inter-religious violence have caused a catastrophic humanitarian sitution," the statement said, noting that it has some 400 workers on the ground in the impoverished country.

Monday was the first anniversary of the toppling of Francois Bozize by mainly Muslim rebels of the Seleka movement led by Michel Djotodia.

The so-called "anti-balaka" militias were formed in response to killing and pillaging by the Seleka rebels who went rogue after the coup.

Anti-balaka means "anti-machete" in the local Sango language and refers to the weapon of choice wielded by the Seleka -- but also taken up by the vigilantes.

Thousands have been killed and around a quarter of the country's 4.6 million people -- most of them Muslims -- displaced.

For those who have stayed at home, the situation has become "unbearable", emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, Peter Bouckaert, said Friday.

(AFP)

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Foreigners urged to leave Libya amid rising violence
EGYPT and several Western states urged their nationals to leave Libya amid spiralling violence after two weeks of fighting left 97 people dead...
Malaysia marks grim Eid after MH17 crash
MALAYSIA on Monday marked a solemn Eid al-Fitr, Islam''s biggest festival, as families of those aboard downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 mourned the dead...
UN Council to make urgent appeal for Gaza ceasefire
THE UN Security Council agreed on Sunday to issue an urgent appeal to Israel and Hamas for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza...
Wrecked Costa Concordia enters Italian port to be scrapped
The wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship limped Sunday into the Italian port of Genoa to be scrapped two and a half years after it capsized in a tragedy that claimed 32 lives....
Experts to begin probe into Air Algerie crash
The second black box from the Air Algerie plane disaster was recovered Saturday at the remote crash site in northern Mali as investigators headed to the scene....
Russia says new EU sanctions risk ending security cooperation
Russia said Saturday that new European Union sanctions targeting Russian intelligence chiefs over its role in Ukraine risked ending all joint cooperation on security....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter