CAR could be a new Rwanda: Ex-seleka general
By Safwene Grira, Monday, April 14, 2014
BANGUI – An ex-general of the seleka militia has warned that the Central African Republic (CAR) might slowly become a new Rwandan.
Abdelkader Khalil expressed doubts about the ability of international peacekeepers to keep the lid on violence and restore stability in the war-torn country.
He accused French and African troops of failing to protect Muslims in the capital Bangui.
"How will they protect the town of Bria if they could not protect Bangui?" Khalil asked in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
Last Friday, scores of people protested against the presence of the French troops in Bria, 500 kilometers north of Bangui.
The French troops used teargas to disperse the protesters, according to Anadolu Agency reporter.
"French troops spoil the atmosphere wherever they go," Khalil said.
"Muslims and Christians want peace and the international troops are proving weak in front of anti-balaka," he said, referring to the notorious Christian militia.
He said at least 2000 homes and 75 mosques have been destroyed in the landlocked republic in recent months.
"What did the international organizations do to prevent this?" Khalil asked. "What did the African troops do? What did the French troops do?"
The former general warned that the country might slowly become a new Rwandan.
Between April and July 1994, Rwanda's Hutu extremists conducted an organized campaign aimed at wiping out the Tutsi minority.
Human Rights Watch has described the Rwandan genocide as "one of the most terrifying episodes of targeted ethnic violence in recent world history."
The former Seleka general described as "late" the decision of the U.N. Security Council to deploy more peacekeepers in CAR.
"Blue berets [U.N. troops] are not the solution," he said.
On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council authorized the dispatch of nearly 10,000 soldiers and 18,000 officers to the Central African Republic as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force.
The troops would be deployed in mid-September.
"Who will protect people during these months then?" Khali asked.
The mineral-rich country descended into anarchy one year ago when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Christian President Francois Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
Since last December, thousands, mostly Muslims, have been killed in sectarian bloodletting throughout the country.
According to the UN refugee agency, around 173,000 people had been internally displaced while 37,000 others had fled to neighboring countries.
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