In the Central African Republic, which few English speakers know of, mass atrocities are mounting rapidly after the recent overthrow of President François Bozizé by Michel Djotodia and his force of Seleka rebels. Disbanded rebel forces terrorize villages and Christian groups with extreme violence. The mostly Christian groups being targeted are now responding with violence in equal measure.
With atrocities committed on both sides, Amnesty International reports that human rights violations are on “an unprecedented level”, and many worry that should the crisis continue to escalate, this conflict may very well lead to full scale genocide.
Stories circulate of a father being forced to see his 4 year old son’s throat being slit, and of people being bound and thrown to crocodiles. Torture and rape is endemic to this incredibly volatile region.
With other crises taking much of the international community’s attention, many living in the CAR are feeling forgotten and abandoned to a doomed fate. The conflict is coming to be known as “the worst crisis most people have never heard of”.
The UN may respond with a peace keeping intervention. However, it will take months for forces to be fully mobilized. Meanwhile, the US reports that roughly 400,000 people have become internally displaced, many hiding in the jungle without access to medicine or HIV treatment.
A further 68,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. These numbers are expected to rise if this conflict continues to go unchecked.