BANGUI, Central African Republic — In early May, warnings of a critical threat to the people of the Central African Republic (CAR) were brought to the surface, yet few are recognizing them.
Being framed as the world’s most ignored conflict, the threat of widespread genocide is boiling in the CAR but hasn’t garnered enough attention. An underlying factor is the fact that the CAR, unlike Sudan or Nigeria, doesn’t have a enough interest from donors who can prevent mass killings. It seems to be the unfortunate truth that attention must be won by conflict-ridden areas such as the CAR, which doesn’t have a history of foreign interest.
Yet, as the world spins on, refugees are fleeing to the few occupied areas of the CAR to avoid widespread slaughter. Many of those leaving their homes are Muslims under religious attack by the Christian anti-Balaka. Even more are confined to camps surrounded by hate groups who will take their lives if they try to move.
Christians are targeted as well; rebels have been targeting all in their path. Four people were publicly and brutally murdered in the capital alone, giving all the more reason why refugees are fleeing despite background or location.
Over 2,000 people have been killed by Christian fighters who support the ousted President Bozize, although Seleka (Christian) fighters were added by self-proclaimed president Michel Djotodia in attempts to make peace. Muslim rebels attempted to take over the capital after the ousting, and the war has ensued since December 2013.
There is a religious and ethnic divide among CAR communities during this time of political unrest. Many of the country’s communities have been segregated and have turned hostile. The UN believes that the death toll will only rise as tensions drive the country into impending genocide.
Furthermore, about one million of the CAR’s population of 4.6 million are displaced, while half of its overall population depends on foreign aid.
There have been interventions, including 5,000 peacekeepers from the African Union and 2,000 from France. However, these are hardly the numbers necessary to prevent the impending travesty much of the world has yet to notice.
Rwanda recalls a tragic tale of ignorance by the international community that led the way to one of the most horrendous accounts of manslaughter in this century. It is imperative that the international community not let history repeat itself, which means increased intervention at much higher numbers is necessary immediately.