Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Small town Deputy Mayor and last remaining Muslim killed in CAR's violence

INfocus Central African Republic, another French intervention

In a sad reminder of how war has blindly turned neighbors and brothers against one another, even politicians who have fought to trully serve the people are not spared belonging to a different religion are not spared from ethnic cleansing or targeted assassinations. The Central African small town of Mbaiki, (200 kilometers southeast of the capital Bangui) borders the two Congos both the DR Congo and Congo-Brazzaville one of the peaceful countries alongside Cameroon neighboring CAR. Mbaiki's Deputy Mayor Saleh Dido refused to leave his town despite the entire Muslim community including some of his constituents being chased out by their Christian neighbors. Dido insisted he would stay in his hometown having been born and raised there. It made no sense for him to succumb to fear. Ignoring the plea for calm, Dido was killed by a mob of Anti-Balaka supporters who had already dehumanized Muslims and signaled out the deputy mayor for attacks on his home which threatened his family's safety. Saleh Dido was also the last remaining Muslim left in the town. In a scene echoing the ethnic cleansing of black Libyan town of Tarawegha by Misrata rebels or Bosnian town Srebrenica by Serbian forces, the small town of Mbaiki has been officially "cleansed" of its Muslim residents by residents numbed by frenzied revenge for past injustices to realize that violent demonization are taking a toll on them as much as their long time neighbors. Oddly, President Samba-Panza had visited Mbaiki two weeks earlier with the French Defense minister to plea for peace and reconciliation. Mbaiki's recent events is not unique just to the town. Several small towns around the country have seen their Muslim residents pushed if not forced out by mobs and anti-Balaka supporters while French troops watch the exodus. French military chief Francisco Soriano who is in charge of Operation Sangaris named after the Central African butterfly has downplayed the claims by the UN of ethnic cleansing by saying "there is none." For many Central Africans, the declaration would appear like wishful thinking. 

More debates on peacekeepers

In the shadows of Russian troops stationed in Crimea and the focus on Ukraine, the United Nations has been debating for over a week if not more when to send in UN Peacekeepers into Central African Republic. The peacekeepers are hoped to provide stability and reassurance to over a million Central Africans both Christian and Muslims internally displaced and dispossed across the country. And to pave the way for Central African refugees living in temporary refugee camps in Chad and Cameroon to gradually return home to stable peace and security. A proposal has been drawn up by the UN security council requesting the deployment of "12, 000 UN Peacekeepers" one of the largest in Central Africa. France, the former colonialist in Central African Republic, has been at the forefront of building international support for UN peacekeepers including a EU deployment that would include NATO countries linking up with the blue helmets. France's previous interventions in Mali and Ivory Coast was not only about protecting its interests ie the strategic resources, it wanted to remind Africans who still has the final say in economics and politics the Francafrique nations' affairs. The French also want to defeat rebel forces and anti NATO/Western groups challenging American/European influences and inference in the internal affairs of various African countries. Tauregs fighting against marginalization in Mali forming the MLNA and the Boko Haram's violent quest to pressure the Nigerian government to their demands. The Nigerian army is constantly in tit for tats with the shadowy and violent group. Boko Haram has been terrorizing civilians both Muslims and Christians across Northern Nigeria and even Abuja to impose their whabbist and warped view of Sharia and Islam on the country. Students and children are constant targets for Boko Haram. Channel 4 has broken down a UN report on the Central African Republic that lies blame for civilian deaths and ethnic cleansing on both rebel groups/Ant-Balaka and Seleka rebels. 

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