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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/31/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

UNICEF says more CAR children being drafted to fight between Christians and Muslims

Children recruited in fighting between Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic, or CAR has resulted in the mass slaughter, decapitations and dismemberment of countless young people. It's estimated that at least a 1,000 people have died since early December in the ongoing conflict.

As tragic as this sounds, the area is all too familiar with violence directed towards its young.

As tragic as this sounds, the area is all too familiar with violence directed towards its young.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/31/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Central African Republic, child soldiers, killings, mutilations


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  French and African troops have tried unsuccessfully to contain violence between the armed groups. The United Nations' UNICEF says it has confirmed the beheadings of two children and the mutilation of another. Sixteen children have been killed and another 60 wounded in clashes between Muslim "Seleka" fighters and mostly Christian "Anti-Balaka" forces.

"We are witnessing unprecedented levels of violence against children. More and more children are being recruited into armed groups, and they are also being directly targeted in atrocious revenge attacks," Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative said in a news release.

"Targeted attacks against children are a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and must stop immediately. Concrete action is needed now to prevent violence against children," Diabate said.

As tragic as this sounds, the area is all too familiar with violence directed towards its young. The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders says that the number of injured people received at its Community Hospital had risen to about 15 to 20 per day, many with machete wounds.

Soldiers disregarded the sanctity of the hospital when three soldiers stormed one facility on Christmas Day. "It is totally unacceptable that health facilities are not being respected and are being invaded by armed people who constitute a threat to patients and staff," Thomas Curbillon, the group's head of mission said.

Displaced people in the area have skyrocketed to more than 800,000 with the mounting violence, and more than 100,000 of them are sheltering in a makeshift camp at Bangui airport.

international action was needed to prevent "an appalling tragedy from spiraling further out of control," Kristalina Georgieva, European Union aid chief declared.

Many say the bloodshed is not based on religion. Christians and Muslims have lived here in relatively undisturbed peace for many years. They say the bloodshed is the result of a political battle for control of resources in one of Africa's most weakly governed states.

The Central African Republic, racked by five coups and numerous rebellions since independence from France in 1960, is rich in diamonds, timber, gold and oil.



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