A prolonged conflict in the impoverished, mineral-rich Central African Republic (CAR) has seen Christian and Muslim militias fighting as foreign troops struggle to keep peace.
MISCA, the Central African Republic's African Union peacekeeping mission, confirmed on April 15 that the last Chadian soldiers had departed the country. Days earlier, Chadian troops came under fire while escorting about 540 Muslim civilians. The subsequent battle caused thousands to flee, Doctors Without Borders said.
The UN said April 1 that 10 days of fighting had left at least 60 people dead and more than 100 wounded in the capital of Bangui. In one of the most severe instances, Chadian soldiers opened fire on a crowd March 29, killing at least 30 people. Chad said the report was false and ordered its troops to withdrawal.
The crisis in Central African Republic (CAR) began in late 2012, when Muslim Seleka rebels launched attacks that eventually overthrew Christian president Francois Bozize, installing Michel Djotodia (pictured). Djotodia resigned in Jan. 2014 amid a continuing conflict in which Christians and Muslims have committed violence.
The UN Security Council unanimously voted on April 10 to create a peacekeeping force in Central African Republic. The force, which will be called MINUSCA, will comprise up to 10,000 troops, 1,800 police and 20 corrections officers. It will take over from African Union troops in Sept. 2014.
The UN estimated as of April 1 that more than 650,000 people remained displaced by violence and some 290,000 people had fled to neighboring countries. About half of CAR's 2.2 million people need some form of humanitarian aid, the UN said, and about 2,000 have died from the conflict since March 2013.
"This has become a country where people are not just killed, they are tortured, mutilated, burned and dismembered… Children have been decapitated, and we know of at least four cases where the killers have eaten the flesh of their victims." Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights
A prosecutor at the International Criminal Court said Feb. 7 that she had opened a preliminary investigation into potential war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic. The ICC previously probed Christian and Muslim clashes in the country in 2004.
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