After several weeks of bloody violence in Bangui, hundreds of thousands of people have now been displaced. Although the city is patrolled by French and African peacekeeping forces, the situation is still not under control. Our reporters on the ground witnessed the daily clashes and met the Christian and Muslim communities who now live in fear of each other.
The situation in the Central African Republic is extremely
complex; many different forces are involved. In March 2013 the Seleka
rebels toppled the former president François Bozizé and replaced him
with Michel Djotodia.
The Seleka are mainly Muslims. After they came
to power they carried out atrocities, and this led to the creation of
self-defence groups called the anti-Balaka. Throughout December there
were many clashes between the anti-Balaka and the former Seleka rebels.
Last month more than one thousand people are believed to have been
Another problem comes from the presence of different
international forces in the country. The UN-mandated African force MISCA
has nearly 4,000 troops. Among them are the Burundians, who last month
accused the Chadians of having opened fire on them. Chad denies this.
the Muslim districts many feel that the French forces (1,600 men)
disarm the Seleka but not the anti-Balaka; France rejects the
allegation. And in the Christian areas residents say Chadian forces are
siding with the Seleka.
All the fighting has led to a dire
humanitarian situation. Some 800,000 people have fled their homes, half
of them in Bangui. In the capital, the largest camp is around the
airport where 100,000 residents now live under tarpaulins, with no
running water. One of the few NGOs there, Doctors Without Borders (MSF),
said Thursday it was reducing its activities at the camp because of the
violence in the area. MSF says there is an urgent need for more
humanitarian aid. The most shocking aspect, they said, is that this camp
is not isolated in the jungle, but beside the airport of an African
capital. (Text by Nicolas Germain)