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article imageHuman rights groups plead for help in Central African Republic

By Karen Graham     Dec 22, 2013 in World
Human rights groups are seeing first-hand the ravages of war in the Central African Republic (CAR), as gangs of Christians and Muslims rampage through the streets, ignoring peacekeeping forces, mutilating, killing and committing other atrocities.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are both reporting that the number of dead in the CAR is higher than is being reported, as fighting has further escalated in this war-torn country. The two agencies are asking the international community to step in with a "robust response."
Even with French and African troops attempting to keep the peace, things have gotten out of hand, particularly in the capital, Bangui. Rampaging gangs of Muslims and Christians roam the streets, executing and mutilating innocent victims, completely out of control. Rwanda Defense Force troops are being made ready to deploy to CAR by the end of the year, according to the Rwanda Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo.
Amnesty International, in a report says anti-balaka Christian militia went door-to-door in Bangui, killing about 60 Muslims. Former coalition rebels, mainly Muslims, retaliated and killed nearly 1,000 people out of revenge. The agency also says there is no doubt atrocities are being committed, including non-judicial executions and mutilations.
Out in the countryside, whole villages are being razed, and the people slaughtered every day. All this was going on as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power was visiting Bangui to talk to the president of CAR, Michel Djotodia. The former Selaka rebel chief became president when the majority Christian president was ousted in March.
Power, saying urgent action was needed to end the vicious violence, told the people: "We have come here to hear how you, the people of Central African Republic, are doing and how we can help."
Human Rights Watch submitted a 34-page report, titled "They Came to Kill." In the report, they cited Bossangoa, a town in the north of the CAR, where parents were forced to watch as militia members slit the throats of their children. They further said that their research has shown most of the violence being seen since September of this year has been committed by the Christian militia group.
Peter Bouckaert, the author of the Human Rights Watch report said the 2,000 African troops and 1,600 French troops are not enough to control a country that is larger than France. Fighting is wide-spread, and there are villages fighting other villages, and not enough troops to control the fighting.
"Urgent support for peacekeeping in the CAR is crucial to bring stability to a tense situation, protect the population from abuses, and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those at grave risk," Bouckaert said. "The potential for further mass violence is shockingly high."
Last week, Ban Ki‑moon, United Nations Secretary-General, issued a plea to CAR, appealing to the two factions to stop the violence, saying the world was watching and those committing atrocities would be held accountable.
UN watchers are also saying troops from other countries have been seen in border villages, joining in the fighting, so the situation is really getting out of hand. 750,000 people have now been displaced, in a country of 4.6 million. Over 40,000 people have fled to other countries.
More about Central african republic, Atrocities, Mutilations, Rampaging, Muslims
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