For the past couple of weeks, violent conflicts have erupted in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
All Africa reports that:
The sectarian violence in the Central African Republic, CAR, is gaining in intensity in spite of the deployment of 1,600 French 'Opération Sangaris' troops in the capital, Bangui, beginning on December 5, 2013. The French were later followed on December 19, 2013 by the African Union, AU-led International Mission for Support to the Central African Republic, MISCA peacekeeping force.
Commanded by Cameroonian-born Brigadier Gen. Martin Tumenta Chomu, the 3,600-strong MISCA force whose strength is expected to reach 6,000 men, replaced the sub-regional FOMAC mission that had been battling to restore peace to the war-ravaged country. Both deployments were preceded by two days of unprecedented sectarian bloodletting in Bangui at the beginning of the month between Moslem and Christian gunmen and civilians.
Military Deployment, Rising Violence
Both 'Opération Sangaris' and MISCA have so far deployed hundreds of troops in the capital, but they are yet to restore a semblance of normalcy. Rather, Christian-on-Moslem and Moslem-on-Christian violence has been on the increase in recent days. Overwhelmed by the situation, French President, François Hollande, over the weekend called for the involvement of the UN to stem the growing spectre of violence.
Over 40 people were killed on Christmas Day 2013. A mass grave containing at least 30 Moslem corpses was discovered near the Roux Barracks on Panthers' Hill, close to the Presidential Palace on December 26, 2013. On the same day, two Congo (Brazzaville) police peacekeepers were killed in a clash with the Presidential Guard manned by former Séléka fighters. Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, whose residence was earlier ransacked by militia men, now lives and operates from Bangui M'Poko International Airport under the protection of French troops.
The Wall Street Journal reports that:
In the space of two weeks, the world's youngest nation has tumbled from a promising protégé of the West to a broken state with little hope for peace.Religious, ethnic and personality differences are a smoke screen. Those differences are not the root cause of the violence. Such conflicts are the result of the continuing legacy of colonialism. It is no coincidence that former colonial power France has deployed troops to CAR. The U.S., China and others are not negotiating a cease fire out of the goodness of their hearts. Ultimately, it is about controlling Africa's resources. Those resources include oil, diamonds, gold, copper and silver. While CAR and South Sudan remain two of the poorest countries in the world, the West and others will plunder their natural resources.
South Sudan now stands divided between government and rebel-controlled territory. The battle between the president and his former deputy has split much of the nation along ethnic lines. And in a country where oil is power, the rebels control one oil-producing state and the government the other.
Now, many Sudanese worry that their chance at peace is over, and the new normal is ethnic warfare.
"This is something we were trying to prevent for a long time. And we did not manage to," said Garang Majak Bol, the government's head of legal affairs and human rights.
Fighting continues despite calls for a truce. More than 1,000 people have been killed in this nation of 10 million and well over 120,000 have fled their homes. The country's two largest ethnic groups—the Dinka and the Nuer—have gone on killing sprees against each other...
This wasn't the future South Sudan was supposed to have after Western governments used aid and influence to help carve the republic from Sudan in 2011 after its decadeslong struggle for independence. Without the religious battle with the largely Muslim regime to the north, the largely Christian south was expected to drill for oil and prosper.
Diplomats from the U.S., China, the East African region and elsewhere are now trying to broker a cease fire between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President, Riek Machar. Mr. Kiir has said he is ready to stop fighting and talk. Mr. Machar has responded he will only enter negotiations if 11 of his compatriots who have been arrested are released. Both sides have moved to seize territory from the other in recent days.