Skip to comments.C.Africa peacekeepers declare war on 'anti-balaka' vigilantes [UN declares war to protect Muslims]
Posted on 03/26/2014 7:09:02 PM PDT by Pan_Yan
Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - Peacekeepers in the Central African Republic declared war on the majority-Christian vigilante known as "anti-balaka" on Wednesday as the UN warned the militia had crossed a red line by attacking international troops.
The head of the MISCA African force blamed the groups for a series of attacks on peacekeepers in the former French colony, and said they would be treated as "enemies".
"From now on, we consider the anti-balaka as enemies of MISCA," Congolese General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko said in remarks carried by a private radio station. "And we will treat them as such."
"They even fire on people who are here to try to end this crisis on behalf of the Central African people to which they belong," the general said. "We hold them responsible for attacks that have targeted our troops in recent days."
The so-called "anti-balaka" militias were formed in response to killing and pillaging by Seleka rebels who went rogue after last year's coup.
Anti-balaka means "anti-machete" in the local Sango language and refers to the weapon of choice wielded by the Seleka -- but also taken up by the vigilantes.
Almost 2,000 French troops have been sent to the landlocked nation to support the 6,000 MISCA soldiers in their bid to restore a modicum of security.
The international forces initially focused on disarming the Seleka fighters in Bangui, but in recent weeks both foreign peacekeepers and the Central African authorities have warned of the need to address abuses by the anti-balaka.
Responding to the general's allegations, Emotion Brice Namsio, who describes himself as an anti-balaka coordinator, denied that the vigilantes had fired on peacekeepers.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
There's a surprise. [/s]
The Congoese “peacekeepers” appear to side with the Seleka, who overthrew the CAR gov’t last year. Thanks Pan_Yan.
> Heavily armed Seleka fighters joined by Muslim Peuhl cattle herders on February 26, 2014, carried out a deadly attack on the village of Bowai, northeast of Bossangoa, Human Rights Watch said today.
> In September 2013 Michel Djotodia announced that Seleka had been dissolved. The disbanded group has dispersed into the countryside and have been committing mass atrocities according to Human Rights Watch. Executions, rape and looting by ex-Seleka fighters after the coup and disbanding have fomented religious tension where the population is 80% Christian. Christian militias, using the name anti-balaka, have been formed to fight the Muslim Seleka. The United Nations is considering sending troops to stop the atrocities. On November 26, France indicated that it would boost its presence an additional 1,000 soldiers in the Central African Republic to augment its existent 400 troops if it receives U.N. backing.
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