Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN ready to evacuate 19 000 Muslims in CAR

01 April 2014, 20:13

Geneva - The UN's refugee agency said on Tuesday it was prepared to help evacuate some 19 000 Muslims at risk of attack from mainly Christian militia in the conflict-torn Central African Republic.

"What we don't want is to stand by and watch people being slaughtered," UNHCR spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba told reporters in Geneva.

She pointed out that so-called anti-balaka militias controlled major routes to and from Bangui as well as a number of towns and villages in the south-western part of the country.

They posed a particular threat to Muslims in the PK12 neighbourhood of the capital, in Boda, Carnot and Berberati to the west and Bossangoa further north, she said, lamenting that "we fear for the lives of 19 000 Muslims in those locations".

"UNHCR stands ready to assist with their evacuation to safer areas within or outside of the country," she said, pointing out that so far "the only thing keeping them from being killed right now is the presence of [international] troops".

The UN staff were heading to the town of Bemal in the north on Tuesday to discuss possibly relocating Muslims there, but Lejeune-Kaba said it was difficult, since locals feared welcoming evacuees could attract unrest to their area.

The chronically unstable Central African Republic sank into chaos after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels who had helped topple president Francois Bozize a year ago refused to lay down their arms and went rogue.

Their campaign of killing, raping and looting prompted members of the Christian majority to form the anti-balaka vigilante groups, which are also accused of atrocities.

UN team of investigators

Around 8 000 international troops are working to contain the crisis in the former French colony, where more than 2 000 people have been killed since December.

At the height of the crisis in December and January, more than a quarter of the country's 4.6 million people had fled their homes.

A new surge in bloodshed has forced nearly 16 000 people from their homes in the capital since early last week alone, Lejeune-Kaba said.

According to UNHCR numbers, 637 000 people in total are now displaced inside the country, including 207 000 in Bangui, while 82 000 mostly Muslim Central Africans had streamed into neighbouring countries in the past three months.

The increase in violence has claimed more than 60 lives in the capital since 22 March, Cecile Pouilly, spokesperson for the UN's human rights office, told reporters on Tuesday.

She pointed especially to a grenade attack on a funeral service in Bangui that claimed at least 20 lives on 27 March, and to the 24 people killed on Saturday by Chadian soldiers.

"It appears that Chadian soldiers fired indiscriminately at a crowd following an incident," she said, stressing that her office was "still trying to confirm the exact affiliation of these soldiers".

Pouilly also said she expected a UN team of investigators on the ground in the country to probe allegations that Chadian soldiers supporting the Seleka have been targetting Christians.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Confused Jubilee afraid of me, Ki...

The Jubilee Party is afraid of me, Evans Kidero says. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Sonko ready for Peter Kenneth bat...

Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko says that he is ready to take on Peter Kenneth in Nairobi Gubernatorial nominations come 2017. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Uhuru wants change in Constitutio...

The Jubilee Coalition is planning to change the Constitution and add President Uhuru Kenyatta another term, Kalonzo Musyoka claims. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
CORD to stop Jubilee efforts to r...

The CORD Coalition will not allow plans to remove Kenya from the Rome Statutes take place, it has said. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
How long will it take Kenya to le...

Kenya is looking to leave the ICC. But what is the process behind the exit? Read more...