A prolonged conflict in the impoverished, mineral-rich Central African Republic (CAR) has seen Christian and Muslim armed groups fighting with foreign troops struggling to keep peace.
The crisis in the Central African Republic began in late 2012, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels launched attacks that eventually overthrew Christian president Francois Bozize, installing Michel Djotodia (pictured). Djotodia resigned in Jan. 2014 amid a conflict in which both Christians and Muslims have committed violence.
Delegates from Muslim and Christian armed groups agreed to a long sought-after ceasefire in the Republic of Congo July 23, to set the stage for continued peace negotiations back in CAR. It was not immediately clear if fighters of both sides would heed the truce.
Attendees at peace negotiations on July 22 told Reuters that Seleka rebels called to split CAR into two countries. The attendees said rebels want the northern country to be Muslim and the southern country to be Christian.
While both Muslim and Christian fighters have committed war atrocities, the ongoing CAR conflict doesn't appear to involve genocide or ethnic cleansing, according to a UN report. The report goes against comments made in Feb. by the UN refugees chief that "ethnic-religious cleansing" was a danger in CAR.
"The fact that there is an anti-Muslim propaganda from certain non-Muslim quarters does not mean that genocide is being planned or that there is any conspiracy to commit genocide or even a specific intent to commit genocide." UN report
The UN estimated as of July 15 that around 103,000 people were internally displaced by violence and some 383,000 people had fled to neighboring countries. Nearly all of CAR's 4.4 million people need some form of humanitarian aid, and thousands have died from the conflict since March 2013.
French troops handed over control of security at the CAR's main airport to EU peacekeepers, who were beginning significant operations in the country. By June, the EU peacekeeping forces should have up to 1,000 soldiers in the country to help out the 2,000 French and 5,000 African Union troops already in CAR.
In April, The UN voted to create a CAR peacekeeping force called MINUSCA. MINUSCA, comprised of up to 10,000 troops and 1,800 police, will take over from African Union troops in Sep. 2014. The UN also began a new appeal -- separate from a Feb. $547 million appeal-- to collect $274 million to aid refugees.
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