Since I last wrote about the growing violence in the Central African Republic, things have made a marked turn for the worse. Even with a reported 7600 French (1600) and African Union (6000) troops on the ground and with United States’ air support inter-religious violence between Muslims and Christians has escalated into all-out militia and vigilante warfare. Children as young as eleven are picking up makeshift weapons and machetes to defend themselves against their brothers who do not share their religious beliefs. Torture and amputations have also been reported.
In one week 600 people have been killed according to the United Nations. UNHCR, which was recently called out for a lack of humanitarian support by Doctors Without Border, has made a plea of its own to the leaders of the Central African Republic: to give them access to aid unarmed citizens.
A reported 40,000 people are taking refuge at Bangui’s airport where there is absolutely no sanitation even though some youth have been digging holes where people can relieve themselves.
It is widely expected that French and AU forces can ultimately put an end to the violence that has already killed so many. Conventional wisdom says it will take far more than one week.