Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ethnic Cleansing in Central African Republic

Christian militias in the Central African Republic (CAR ) are attempting to purge Muslims from their war-torn country. Amnesty International calls it ethnic cleansing and says that the militias are forcing "a Muslim exodus of historic proportions."

Why and why should anyone care?

The CAR is a former French colony. Last year, Muslim rebels (known as Seleka) ousted the president. Christian militias then began fighting Muslims and forcing them out of the country. Peacekeepers include about 1600 French troops and about 6000 troops from an African Union-led peacekeeping force. According to this CNN story,  Amnesty International says that these forces have not done much to stop the violence.

The UN Refugee Agency calls the violence "a humanitarian catastrophe of unspeakable proportions." And the New York Times reports that "entire neighborhoods in the capital, Bangui, have been emptied because of attacks by the Christian militias."

Reuters says that there is a risk of genocide without  "a more robust international response."

The BBC has an excellent short  country profile of the CAR and they call it one of the least developed countries in the world. And NPR just did a story about the fleeing Muslims which you can access here.

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