Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Amnesty, UN: CAR Muslim exodus ‘ethnic cleansing’

DAKAR, Senegal — The exodus of tens of thousands of Muslims from Central African Republic amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” a top U.N. official and Amnesty International said Wednesday. The rights group warned that the sectarian bloodshed now underway despite the presence of thousands of peacekeepers is a “tragedy of historic proportions.”

In a visit to the lawless capital of Bangui, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said “ethnic-religious cleansing” threatened to tear apart the country, and he called for the international community to help the nation’s nascent interim government restore order.

His trip comes a day after the U.N. chief used his strongest language yet to describe the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

“We cannot just continue to say ‘never again.’ This, we have said so many times,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said late Tuesday. “We must act concertedly and now to avoid continued atrocities on a massive scale.”

More than 1,000 Christians and Muslims have been killed since sectarian fighting erupted in early December and nearly 1 million in this country of 4.6 million have fled their homes.

The country’s Muslim minority, about 15 percent of the population, has come under growing attack from not only Christian militiamen but also from mobs of civilians who have carried out public killings on a nearly daily basis in recent weeks. In most cases, the bodies of Muslim victims were mutilated and sometimes dragged through the streets or set on fire.

For months, U.N. and French officials have warned that a genocide could be looming in Central African Republic, and Amnesty’s use of the term “ethnic cleansing” is among the strongest language invoked yet to describe the inter-communal violence now wracking the country.

Amnesty International said that while it is a big step to use the term, it is justified “given the level of violent and purposeful forced displacement we’ve been seeing,” said Joanne Mariner, senior crisis adviser for the organization in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic.

“The exodus of Muslims from the Central African Republic is a tragedy of historic proportions. Not only does the current pattern of ethnic cleansing do tremendous damage to the Central African Republic itself, it sets a terrible precedent for other countries in the region, many of which are already struggling with their own sectarian and inter-ethnic conflicts,” the report said.

The wave of violence against Muslim civilians is being committed by Christian militiamen known as the anti-Balaka, or anti-machete, who stepped up their attacks as a Muslim rebel government crumbled in January. Rights groups at the time warned that the Muslim minority would be especially vulnerable to retaliatory attacks as many Christians blamed them for supporting the brutal Muslim regime of the Seleka rebels who seized power in March 2013.

Some of the attacks have taken place in front of peacekeepers who were unable to halt the bloodshed. In one highly publicized case, Burundian peacekeepers withdrew from the scene as a frenetic mob of soldiers from the national army stomped and stabbed a suspected Muslim rebel to death.

In recent days, thousands of Muslims have climbed aboard trucks destined for neighboring Chad, a predominantly Muslim country whose soldiers have provided armed protection to the refugee convoys.

Muslim victims have been buried within 24 hours, and with violence sending survivors fleeing for their lives it has been nearly impossible to determine how many have died nationwide since sectarian bloodshed erupted in early December when the Muslim Seleka government began weakening. Amnesty said it alone had been able to document the deaths of more than 200 Muslims.

Some of those killed lost their lives even as they tried in vain to reach safety in the neighboring countries of Chad or Cameroon. At least 20 Muslims were killed last month as group tried to flee the town of Bouar.

“The mass killing of civilians, destructions of homes, businesses and mosques and other means used by the anti-Balaka to ‘ethnically cleanse’ the Central African Republic of its Muslim population constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Amnesty said.

Their concerns were echoed Wednesday by Human Rights Watch, which also has been documenting the violence and has helped get Muslims to safety in many circumstances. The group said that the major gold trading center of Yaloke had previously been home to 30,000 Muslims and had eight mosques before fighting erupted. As of early February, just one mosque remained and less than 500 Muslims were still in town – under the protection of French peacekeepers.

“Whether the anti-Balaka leaders are pursuing a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing or exacting abusive collective punishment against the Muslim population, the end result is clear: the disappearance of longstanding Muslim communities,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

Former colonizer France has sent 1,600 troops to help stabilize the country, and there are nearly 6,000 peacekeepers from African countries on the ground now. On Wednesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pledged on a visit to Central African Republic to continue disarming both Muslim and Christian fighters.

“No one accepts or will accept a partition” of the country into a Muslim north and Christian south, he said.

Ban, the U.N. chief, announced Tuesday that he is sending Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet to the country to consult with the African Union about possibly transforming the African force there into a U.N. peacekeeping force. He also has asked France to consider deploying additional troops.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
 
 
Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 3 Comments

First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 13 Comments

Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

 
Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7