A year ago, South Africa couldnâ€
RA’EESA PATHER spoke withÂ Al JazeeraÂ correspondent, Nazanine Moshiri, who is in Bangui, about the situation in CAR today.Â Â
Civilians in the Central African Republic have been the victims of on-going violence and human rights violations in the wake of brutal sectarian warfare. In March 2013, former CAR president Francois Bozize was ousted from power and forced to flee after Seleka, a mostly Muslim rebel force, took over large parts of the country.
The mostly Christian anti-Baleka formed in response to Seleka, and reprisal attacks followed. Civilians trapped in the middle suffered the brunt of the attacks, with children being beheaded or recruited into rebel ranks. Reports indicate that violence in Bangui has somewhat settled, but internal tensions still exist in the city.
â€œWhen you go to the Muslim neighbourhoods, things are very quiet, and thereâ€
The African Union deployed troops to CAR to quell the violence. ButÂ with speculationÂ that neighbouring African countries, like Chad, had capitalised on the conflict, this group, known as Misca (after the French acronym for theÂ International Support Mission to the Central African Republic)Â has been at the centre of troubling allegations.
â€œMisca have been accused, in some parts of the country, of committing human rights abuses themselves, so people mistrust them.â€
Weapons have always flowed into CAR, but recently theyâ€
â€œOrdinary people donâ€
Since the conflict began,Â hundreds of thousands of Central Africans have beenÂ internally displaced,Â and Moshiri says around 40% of the population is struggling to find clean water. CAR is perhaps one the wealthiest countries in Africa, but its people, in some parts, are in financial and humanitarian crisis.
â€œThe Central African Republic is very wealthy, it has a lot of mineral resources: diamonds and gold mines galore everywhere,â€ Moshiri says. â€œBut the wealth is in the hands of a very few.â€
“With the worldâ€
Ebola has sparked aÂ knee-jerk reactionÂ around the world, with America, the World Bank, France and the UN deploying financial, medical, and infrastructural aid to the worst-affected regions of the West African outbreak. CAR itself has invested financial resources into securing its airports from Ebola.
â€œOf course a lot of funding is being diverted to [Ebola], funding which probably wouldâ€
Although violence has simmered in some parts of CAR, in northern territories the conflict has escalated. Human Rights Watch last week reported that at least 146 people had been killed since June. The totalÂ death tollÂ is unknown, with many remote villages around the region being unaccounted for.Â Moshiri maintains, however, that while sectarian violence remains a deep concern in CAR, the origin of the conflict is not being addressed.
â€œThe root causes of conflict are not sectarian, they are poverty and corruption in this country,â€ Moshiri says.
As the UN takes leadership in CAR, it has a daunting task ahead. Central African Republic is caught in the stronghold of violence, poverty and ethnic killings. But the world has forgotten.
– Featured image via Wikimedia Commons