This is a guest blog post by Jessie Miller, 13.
In the Central African Republic, fighting has persisted for over a year between the Christian anti-balaka and the mostly Muslim Seleka groups. With the religions themselves taking up eighty and fifteen percent of the population respectively, the conflicts have taken their tolls on the minority.
The Seleka are not blameless, the violence began when, after overthrowing a corrupt government, the Seleka chose to take advantage of their reign by raping and pillaging.
The anti-balaka militias started in self defense but grew to be far more sinister. Following the French and African Union troops as they stripped the Seleka of arms, the secondary force massacred the Muslims.
Despite not being a religious group in and of itself, Muslims as a whole were blamed for the Seleka’s actions due to the alliance mostly consisting of them.
While the authorities were downplaying the slaughter, the Muslim population of Bangui dropped roughly 85%.
“They Came to Kill,” posted in December by Human Rights Watch, included a page summarizing the conflict, including several specific instances for reference:
Despite the sheer level of violence, UN peacekeeping troops weren’t authorized until April after Chad’s troops pulled out:
A Catholic Church, a refuge for both uninvolved Muslims and Christians alike, was stormed late May. 30 civilians at a minimum became casualties, not including the injured, according to certain witnesses: