Central African Republic: Aid Groups Seek Better Access to Strife-Torn Capital
Aid officials pleaded Wednesday for more access to Bangui, the Central African Republic’s treacherous capital, saying that clashes between rival Christian and Muslim militias made it too dangerous to help the wounded and recover bodies. At least 42 deaths have been confirmed in Bangui since sectarian clashes erupted on Saturday, but Antoine Mbao-Bogo, the head of the national Red Cross, said that tally was far from complete as its workers had not been able to reach some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the United Nations reported that two of its peacekeepers had been severely wounded as they worked to take down roadblocks that militants had erected.
The Blood Diamond Trade is Tearing the Central African Republic apart
The Central African Republic (CAR)—one of the poorest countries in the world—has been embroiled in intense religious conflict since Dec. 2012. Fighting between the predominantly Muslim rebels (known as the Séléka) and Christian/animist anti-balaka militia broke out when the former accused Christian president François Bozizé of violating peace agreements laid down in 2007 and 2011. The Séléka supplanted Bozizé with their own president, Michel Djotodia, from Mar. 2013 to Jan. 2014; though he has since been replaced by two acting presidents—currently, former mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza.