Violence Erupts in Central African Republic (CAR): Aid Workers Attacked

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Two people were killed in a hail of gunfire on Monday as religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims reached a boiling point, according to Reuters. The perpetrators came from Seleka, a Muslim rebel group that staged a coup in 2013 and persecuted the Christian population. President Faustin-Archange Touadera campaigned on a promise of fostering peace between Christians and Muslims, but has been unsuccessful thus far.

The violence has worsened in the past few months, and UN troops have been deployed to the northwest region to stem the chaos. Thousands have left their homes in search of refuge in neighboring countries. Further, many Christians formed militia groups in reaction to horrors committed by Seleka fighters and have responded with the same level of violence.

Moreover, a Ugandan group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army roams throughout parts of CAR and clashes with authorities, commits widespread atrocities, and utilizes child soldiers. All sides share some measure of blame for the violence, but LRA has been the primary force behind the rising turbulence.

The recent bout of lawlessness is the latest in a string of violent encounters that have plagued the nation and further tarnished CAR’s reputation within the world community. To make matters worse, Seleka fighters took six police officers hostage on Sunday, and a member of charity organization known as Medecins Sans Frontiers was murdered while driving to a neighboring village.

The organization will suspend vital operations in the country for three days starting on Wednesday to protest the violence. The incident was the second murder of an aid worker from the same organization, and the government is failing on multiple fronts when it comes to instilling order and security. Such violent acts do not bode well for the president, and increased instability started when he took office.

Touadera won the election in 2016 and set up a coalition of Christian and Muslims as a gesture of goodwill. The government, however, has ignored the powerful presence of militia forces throughout the country, as these groups extort major mining hubs and businesses.

Authorities have done little to crack down on extortion, and the president appears to have no control over parts of his own country. Furthermore, Touadera has failed to combat corruption, which is another detriment to vital development that could propel Bangui into the next level.

Currently, CAR is in no position to accept greater foreign investment at a time when political instability wreaks havoc throughout the poor nation. CAR is an agriculture-based society, and although the commodity sector is an important trade in the country, the sector never benefited the wider populace, and officials have no strategy that would diversify the economy.