Central Southern Africa

Ethnic cleansing is looming, accuses Amnesty International. International Forces Accused

(credit: Amnesty international)
(credit: Amnesty international)

(BRUSSELS2) Amnesty International denounces in a report published today “regular “ethnic cleansing” and inter-religious violence” taking place in the west of the Central African Republic. “ International peacekeeping force soldiers fail to prevent ethnic cleansing of Muslim civilians ».

ethnic cleansing

« Anti-balaka militias carry out violent attacks in an attempt to ethnically cleanse Muslims in the Central African Republic says Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International's Crisis Adviser. “We are witnessing an unprecedented exodus of Muslims. »

Hundreds of testimonials

The NGO draws on more than a hundred first-hand accounts of large-scale attacks carried out by the anti-balaka against Muslim civilians in the towns of Bouali, Boyali, Bossembélé, Bossemptélé and Baoro, in the north. -west of the Central African Republic. International troops were not deployed in these cities, leaving civilians unprotected. The deadliest attack recorded by Amnesty International took place on January 18 in Bossemptélé. It left more than 100 victims among the Muslim population, including women and the elderly, including an imam of around 75 years old. To escape the murderous madness of the anti-balaka, in many towns and villages, the entire Muslim population has fled, while elsewhere, those who remain are taking refuge in and around churches and mosques.

Seleka and anti-balaka compete in ferocity

«When the Seleka withdrew, international forces let anti-balaka militias take control of the country, town after town. The violence and forced eviction of Muslim communities were predictable. The declining power of the Seleka forces did nothing to lessen their brutality when they withdrew. Even with severely constrained movement capacity and operational means, Seleka members continued violent attacks on Christian civilians and their property. Armed members of Muslim communities, acting independently or alongside the Seleka, have also carried out large-scale attacks against Christian civilians. »

The international force is not doing enough

For the NGO, the response of the international community is “ too timid ". International peacekeeping troops show themselves reluctant to deal with anti-balaka militias and not responsive enough to protect the threatened Muslim minority”. For Donatella Rovera, “International peacekeeping troops have failed to stop the violence. (…) They consented in certain cases, letting the anti-balaka militias fill the power vacuum created by the departure of the Séléka. »

It's urgent…

« The urgency of the situation demands an immediate response – explains Joanne Mariner. “It is time for the peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic to protect the civilian population, deploy in areas at risk and stop this mass exodus. »

Comment: the NGO plays its role by sounding the alarm. However, it would be more credible if it were addressed to those in charge rather than to lamp workers. If the troops on the ground can, if necessary, be called into question, those who far from the field, delay, drag their feet, always inventing a good quibble, to postpone by one or two days, by one or two weeks the The operation should also be faced with their responsibilities. Paper to follow: And meanwhile… the Europeans are languishing

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).