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March 21, 2014

The Central African Republic: They killed my brother because he is a Muslim

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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I met him in Kuwait as he was just posted as a diplomat at the embassy of the Central African Republic. "Yesterday, the Christian militia shot my brother dead because he was a Muslim," he told me, "Then they tried to behead him. But the Burundian peacekeeping military intervened so they handed his body to my family."

His name was Aboubaka Mamadou Ngomba, a married father of two. Born April 24, 1970 in the capital Bangui, the Central African Republic. Shot dead on Friday March 7, 2014 and buried two days later.

Ngomba was a victim of the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Central African Republic, thousands more remain nameless and many have never been buried.

“Join me in urging the UN to rush peacekeeping reinforcements and swiftly deploy international police units to help stop ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic and restore law and order,” said Joanne Mariner of Amnesty International, “I came to this region with a small group of Amnesty investigators looking into reports of mass killings and forced evictions of Muslims. Throughout our travels, we found case after case of mayhem and death.”

France carved out this tiny - but rich in resources - African nation for itself. It exploited its resources and robed its people of 5 million of their future, doing little in terms of human development before it gave them independence on August 13, 1960.

The Central African Republic – CAR is a land locked country in central Africa. It is bordered by six countries; Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

Despite it is being rich in natural resources, such as uranium, oil, gold, diamonds, lumber and hydropower, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world and is among the ten poorest countries in Africa.

Since its independence the country was plagued with heavy corrupting, underdevelopment and above all a direct French interference to keep the country dependent on its former colonial master.

“A miracle shouldn't be the only way out of this nightmare – and citizens of a country should not be forced to flee their homes on the basis of their religion. These communities need protection now,” said Mariner, “Tell the UN and the African Union to act quickly and decisively to protect Muslim men, women and children who remain in the country -- and restore law and order for Muslims and Christians.”

“Peacekeepers could have prevented this massacre, but in too many communities, they are nowhere to be found. They have been slow to challenge the anti-balaka militias that are carrying out the barbaric campaign of ethnic cleansing against Muslims,” added Mariner, “Tens of thousands of Muslims have been forced out of their own country. Others can't leave for lack of funds for transport or fear of being attacked on the roads. Whole neighborhoods have been abandoned. Mosques and property destroyed.”

The anti-balaka militias themselves were formed in response to mass killings by Muslim militias linked to the former government – gripping the country in a cycle of violence and vengeance.

Christian individuals and communities have yet to find any justice or accountability for brutal attacks that ravaged their communities before the anti-balaka militias filled the power vacuum. Members of both communities are at risk.

Mariner reported: “We found a young girl crouching in the corner of an abandoned house. She had been there, alone, without food or water, for four days. The rest of her family had been killed. She was terrified, and so weak she could not even stand.

To find her, we had just walked down streets littered with bodies, including 3 women and a baby. Small bundles of clothing were found near the bodies – indicating they were slaughtered as they tried to flee.”

The international community's reaction to these human rights atrocities has been shamefully inadequate. Help us break the logjam – please take action with Amnesty right now.”

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