Touadera in Kaga Bandoro

48 images Created 30 Oct 2016

On 12 October 2016, Ex-Séléka rebels – part of an alliance of mostly Muslim northern insurgent groups – swept through much of Kaga Bandoro, a small town in the Central African Republic, killing 38 people and burning down a camp that was home to 7,000 internally displaced persons.

The rebels stabbed and hacked to death people in the camp who had already been made homeless by previous violence in 2013. UN peacekeepers based in Kaga-Bandoro shot dead 12 of the attackers and fought off multiple attacks for three hours before bringing the rebels to heel.

Six months after Faustin-Archange Touadéra became the country’s first democratically elected president in three years, his plans for security sector reform, reconciliation, and the reintegration of armed groups into society seem to be unravelling as armed groups throughout the north and south fight over strategic positions in the country where natural resources can be easily exploited.

The Central African Republic’s new government is struggling to bring an end to three years of war and sectarian violence, its authority undermined by continuing attacks on civilians by the mainly Muslim Séléka and rival Christian anti-Balaka militias.

On 17 October, President Touadéra visited Kaga Bandoro in a calculated but risky move to heal the fractured relations between Muslims and Christians and to push the Ex-Seleka, many of whom are based in Kaga Bandoro, to surrender their weapons and pursue their political goals peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy.

Despite visiting both communities and pleading for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, Kaga Bandoro remains a town deeply divided. The attack has pushed 20,000 people to seek safety around the UN peacekeeping base where they are currently living in deplorable conditions made worse by overcrowding, drenching rains and limited access to clean water and latrines.
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