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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/21/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

France sends in more troops to protect former colony from violence between Christians, Muslims

As the situation grows even worse in the Central African Republic, France has deployed 2,000 troops to its former colony to support a 6,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission. The sparsely populated country of only 4.5 million people has seen growing sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims over the past several months.

Hatred between Christians and Muslims there has reached a 'terrifying level' -- crimes of which she described included acts of cannibalism and decapitation of children.

Hatred between Christians and Muslims there has reached a "terrifying level" -- crimes of which she described included acts of cannibalism and decapitation of children.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/21/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Central African Republic, sectarian violence, Christians, Muslims


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The United Nations' top human rights official warned that the ongoing atrocities were being carried out with impunity.
 
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay appealed to the international community to provide troops for a proposed 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission. Hatred between Christians and Muslims there has reached a "terrifying level" -- crimes of which she described included acts of cannibalism and decapitation of children.

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"The inter-communal hatred remains at a terrifying level, as evidenced by the extraordinarily vicious nature of the killings," Pillay told a news conference. "There is ... almost total impunity: no justice, no law and order apart from that provided by foreign troops."

Thousands of citizens have been killed since the Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim northern rebels, seized power last year in the southern capital Bangui and launched a campaign of looting, torture and killing in the majority Christian country.

A wave of reprisals by the "anti-Balaka" Christian militia last year has driven tens of thousands of Muslims from Bangui, the south and west of the country.

During her two-day visit, Pillay held talks with interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, who took office after Seleka leader Michel Djotodia resigned in January under international pressure. Government officials have since admitted there was no functioning army or police, no justice system and no means of holding those responsible for violence.

"People apprehended with blood on their machetes and severed body parts in their hands have been allowed to go free because there is nowhere to detain them and no means to charge them with the crimes they have clearly committed," Pillay said.

Around 15,000 Muslims are still trapped in Bangui and other areas in the north, north-west and south of the country, protected by international forces.

While it appears that large scale massacres have stopped, due to foreign troops, killings continue on a daily basis, mostly by the "anti-balaka" militia. Pillay said some of the militia were mutating into criminal gangs, targeting Christians and other non-Muslims indiscriminately.

The United Nations estimates some 650,000 people have been displaced within Central African Republic, while nearly 300,000 have fled to neighboring states.

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