West & Central Africa

Dozens die in continuous Muslim Seleka attacks in CAR

A fresh wave of violence between Muslim Seleka militia and Christian Anti-Balaka has erupted in the Central African Republic (CAR) last week raising fears of an escalating catastrophic humanitarian crises.

Over a dozen armed armed Muslim Seleka militia roam communities, attacking and killing people with impunity.

According to a Barnabas Fund  source in CAR: “Not a day goes by without news of another town coming under attack. Tthe situation in the CAR is giving plenty of concern for the coming days.”

In what seems to be a sign of a looming war the source said, “The UN is putting up protective barricades in front of its headquarters here, in case violent attacks occur, and the French embassy is doing the same. This week, all Americans were advised by their embassy to leave the country. Meanwhile, our eyes continue to be fixed on the Lord.”

Human Rights Watch has confirmed the stories and a United Nation’s report this week detailed the unfolding tragedy in a 369-page “Mapping Report” written by an eight-member team, covered 620 crimes “of the most serious gravity” committed by various parties, including village burnings, killings and rape.

“They didn’t attack another armed group. They attacked the population. Civilians,” Pastor Andre Sandje, who has been on offering moral and spiritual support to the victims said the war is as much of the militant attacking Christian communities as it is a war between the rebel groups.
Monica, a 30-year-old polio survivor in Bambari, said “I went into the house to hide… “My husband told me to stay there and he left with the kids to hide outside. They were chased into the bush and killed.”

The United States government, says it is “deeply concerned by the recent violence in Bangassou, the Central African Republic (CAR), and continuing violence by armed groups in other parts of the country, especially around Bria and Bambari.”

“It’s a catastrophe,” Social Affairs Minister Virginie Baikoua said to reporters on Wednesday in Bria. “Houses are burnt down, others pillaged … The displaced are afraid it could degenerate at any moment because armed men are roaming around the camps.”

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said that armed groups are coalescing and continuing with “atrocious attacks” against women and children… “This is a time for leadership, strengthened partnerships, and a coordinated approach that puts Central Africans’ ‘Human Rights Up Front’,” Mr. Gilmour said, adding that “Warning signs are flashing and must not be ignored,” Mr. Gilmour said.

The challenge according to Barnabas Fund’s source is that, “the rebels are not prepared to face justice; and we know that certain political figures are among their number.”

According to the UN, more than half the population is in dire need of assistance.  As of May 2017, “two weeks of conflicts has caused the displacement of about 100,000 people, 200 wounded and 300 dead,” according to the Ministry of Social Health in the country.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Najat Rochdi, said “this new outbreak of violence where civilian people are paying the highest cost.”