In early 2013 Central Africa exploded into violence. As Seleka, the rebel group took power from the north, French forces arrived to oust the Seleka president, but order did not return to the country. Conditions deteriorate as Christians blamed the entire Muslim community for Seleka crimes and sought revenge. This resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of Muslims who fled in fear of their lives. And the remaining Muslim population fears genocide. But how did this war rapidly become what many are now calling a religious war? And how is it that the only party profiting is neither the Muslims, nor the Christian but rather the old colonial masters, i.e., the French.
Narration: In early 2014, a small African nation was tearing itself apart. With thousands dead and the country ethnically cleansed of its Muslim population, little is understood of how a country can wake up one morning with the desire to hack to death their neighbours. This film attempts to find out why.
SOUNDBITE [French], Christian Man: “We want peace in our country. We want peace in the Central African Republic. So we will cut the throats of all the Muslims.”
The narrative presented by most of the media about events in the CAR goes like this.
In March 2013, the largely Muslim rebel group, the Seleka came down from the north of the country and overthrew the unpopular President Boazizi. In the Seleka’s ten months in power they committed widespread atrocities, the killing and raping of the majority Christian population. Then the Christian militia, the Anti-Balaka, meaning anti-machete rose up to fight not just the Seleka but the entire Muslim population who they blamed as well. Queue sectarian violence and the French like reluctant heroes landing to keep the peace. They failed. The Muslims, being the minority, lost. Most fled the country. But what we found was a rather different narrative. It’s a narrative that started a long time ago.
Narration: Bangui River. In colonial days the French attempted to find its origin, due to rapids they could only travel so far and instead created an outpost, Bangui, the capital of the C.A.R. The dilapidated Hotel Bangui remains as a stoic reminder of colonial glory.After the independence leader Bathelemy Boganda died in a mysterious plane crash, the country became independent in 1960. The French and their business interests intervened to put their own man in power rather than Boganda’s socialist successor.Then, the French were at it again. In 1965, they helped into power their new man, Jean-Bedel Bokassa.In France he is remembered as the archetypal corrupt African dictator. Modelling himself on Napoleon he crowned himself emperor in a lavish ceremony. His crown alone cost $5 billion US Dollars. In Central Africa he is remembered as a nationalist, extravagant, yes but also the last leader to have built anything of note in the country. Most of the buildings in Bangui are from his time.But after 11 years in power, the French got rid of him too….
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Bokassa, Jean –Bedel Bokassa’s Son: “He was on an official trip to Libya. While he was there, the French military, parachutists, came to Central Africa. They occupied all the strategic posts and put someone else in power, the reasons … firstly, the relations between the French President and my father were getting worse. There was the closing ties with Gaddafi and the closer ties to other countries who were not close to France which could threaten the strategic interests of France. For example the exploitation of some resources.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Magna, Youth Leader: “The problem was not the dictator. Bokassa was a President we respected because he was the Emperor. He was hard in his behaviour but he liked his country. He developed his country. He built a university here, the only one in fifty years. He was a President who invested in his country. Wll the others who have come have done nothing.”
Narration: Despite being sentenced to death, the Emperor Bokassa voluntarily returned home to face his sentence. It was commuted to life in prison. He died in Bangui in 1996.Three Presidents later and almost to the present day. Francois Bozize, another French backed President is in power. Bokassa’s son was part of his government.
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Bokassa, Jean –Bedel Bokassa’s Son: “Recently there was a conflict of interests between French multinational companies and Bozize who was representing the Central African state. He thought he could have partnerships with other countries and invite them to exploit the countries resources. That didn’t make some people happy. There were closer ties with China for example.”
Narration: In March, 2013, Bozize was forced to flee the country as the Seleka invaded from the north. He is now in Cameroon plotting a return to power.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “What is happening in the Central African Republic, if it surprises the world, it doesn’t surprise me is a succession of events in the life of Central African people which started in the colonial period until now.France which is playing the fireman now, has responsibility. I think 50%. Central Africans, 30% and neighbouring countries 20%.”
Narration: Joseph Bendounga is one of the most well known and popular politicians in the country. A former Minister and mayor of the capital. I put to him that it was the Seleka who started the current crisis.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “No, the problem was before the Seleka. It was France who made and destroyed all the regimes. They put Dacko in power in the 60s. Then in 66 it was the same French business class who helped Bokassa to overthrow Dacko. Then it was again France who took Dacko in a plane from Paris to Bangui to overthrow Bokassa. And again in 1981, France asked Dacko to give power to Kolingba.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Maka Gbossokoto, Journalist: “We have always been a French colony. Since 1959, when President Bokassa tragically died, France has controlled everything here. They have controlled all the politics from then until now.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “Now, France has found another partner. Making coup d’etats is no longer very easy for them so they enlisted the help of Chad.”
Narration: Idris Deby, the dictator of Chad. Leader of one of the most corrupt governments in the world, Deby needed French paratroopers to keep him in power in the 90’s. He remains a staunch French ally.It was Chad who funded and armed the Seleka enabling them to overthrow Bozize.
SOUNDBITE [French], Maka Gbossokoto, Journalist: “You have to say it clearly that the Seleka have been helped by Idriss Deby, the President of Chad. He admitted it himself. Central Africa has been an oven for rebellions against Chad, so Chad wanted to help change the regime and to control and secure the frontier.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Bokassa, Jean –Bedel Bokassa’s Son: “The way they do it has changed but they still do it. They are trying to be more elegant in their actions to avoid making it obvious. So it’s not so visible. It’s a new mechanism that’s been put in place to maintain a kind of slavery that doesn’t speak its name. We are still prisoners of foreign interests.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Magna, Youth Leader: “Central Africa Republic is a good country but we have a problem with leadership. The people are good but the leaders are not. Today, we have problems. Education is not good. The health sector is not good. He who takes power thinks to himself, his family, his tribe, his region. It’s a problem with leadership.”
Narration: Much of the country now resembles a war zone. Whole districts in the capital, both Muslim and Christian have been destroyed. Looters now pick over the remains. We got out of our car to film them.
SOUNDBITE [French], Looters:
“You will earn a lot of money taking those photos. You’ve taken video. You’ve taken photos. I’m going to break your camera. You have more than just money. Why have you left where you come from to come here? You are rubbish on the street.
You’re making money off our streets.
This is our film as well.”
Narration: We tried again further down the street.
SOUNDBITE [French], Young Men: “There is a dead body. Its not easy to get there. Your vehicle can’t get there.”
Narration: We agreed to go with them to see the body. Death is around every corner.
SOUNDBITE [French], Young Men: “They exploded grenades here. These are Muslim houses. We destroyed them because they had gone.He’s just there. Go around here.”
Narration: They were scared to go any further. They said there was a sniper nearby. It’s impossible to tell whether he is a Muslim or a Christian or why they died. Or why he has been lying in a ditch possibly for days. Life is cheap here.
SOUNDBITE [French], Young Men: “Those are Muslim houses.”
Narration: As the young man crossed the red line his friends told him not to go. They were worried he would shot be snipers … or the French.We thought we better report the body to the authorities. The red cross directed us to the police.
SOUNDBITE [French], Police: “So you can’t go and get the body?
No, its not secure there. We have to go with the African peacekeepers. If there are people there with weapons do you think they will let us in with our uniforms?
Hello. I am a Sargent with the police. There is a TV crew here who found a dead body. It is difficult for us to go so we wanted you to ask the peacekeepers if they can help us go there. And the Red Cross too.”
Narration: The streets are now ruled by armed gangs. The French and African peacekeepers are unable or unwilling to stop the killings.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “When I hear the Minister of Defense say that the situation is now stabilised, no! What they did is kick the ant hill and now the ants are everywhere and the situation is even more complicated.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Bokassa, Jean –Bedel Bokassa’s Son: “I’m scared that behind all this is a plan to impose a kind of chaos. Because I can’t explain the attitude of the military experts that are now in charge here. For me the only explanation is to implement a kind of chaos.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “Yes, its easier to control a country that is not strong, by keeping it in poverty.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Magna, Youth Leader: “We want new leaders. We have problems for our women and children. What’s the cause? All of this is because of the selfishness of the political class. That is why, we the youth do not accept it. It is true they keep us in poverty. They keep us with our beliefs, they keep us in extreme poverty in order to manipulate us.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Thomas Wange, Former Government Minister: “I will tell you something very simple. Everyone speaks as if there was never a state here. But it existed with institutions and 500 companies. It existed. This country was selling coffee, cotton, wood. It was a flourishing economy. But something came to destroy all of this.”
Narration: While in office Mr Wange drew up plans for the development of his country. He planned to strike deals with foreign companies. French, Chinese, whoever offered the best terms.
SOUNDBITE [French], Thomas Wange, Former Government Minister: “You have gold and diamonds mostly everywhere. Uranium here. Magnesium. And here hydro carbons in this band. And another band here next to the Sudanese border. And this is not an exhaustive map. Next to the border with Congo Brazzaville you have reserves of petrol. So that’s the reason I am an optimist. To develop this country we need to apply this program.”
Narration: Catherine Samba Panza, the new President. She leads the National Transition Council. Here she makes a speech to the reformed national army. Moments after she left, a suspected Seleka member was beaten to death.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “They created the conditions to put a women in power in Bangui. It was the French Ambassador who led the election of Catherine Samba-Panza to be President. They just need someone who they can manipulate rather than someone intelligent in power. They don’t want Central Africa to not be owned by them. France created this new President.”
Narration: In the parliament, the French Ambassador looks on as she was chosen to lead the country.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: "By coming to the Central African Republic, France is not looking for personal interest, it has nothing to gain from its presence here, and doesn't claim for any unjustified influence. France only intends to bring relief to a population that is threatened by lawless factions.The French President, Mr Hollande has come twice to Bangui. Why because he is controlling this women. It’s the relationship of a lord to a servant. He comes to give instructions and to control things. Five meters under the soil, it is not the property of Central Africa. It is the property of France.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Serge Magna, Youth Leader: “We don’t understand why. They country is very rich. There are some rumours that the French are here to profit from the wealth of this country but we don’t know.”
Narration: Since we left the CAR, there has been an intensifying of anger towards the French forces. And interestingly not just from Muslims. But increasingly from Christians. From both communities there is a feeling that this whole conflict would not have happened without French support. Increasingly the French are being seen less as peacekeepers and more … as occupiers. At his home, Mr Bendounga runs a pilot chicken farm. When he was in office he travelled the world looking for the best farming methods to bring home. If elected he plans to help families across the country set up their own small farms in a first step to develop the country.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “The Central African Republic has the means of its own development. Today, with only our own resources, without any international help we can develop ourselves. International help has never developed a country.”
Narration: In time he says the country could begin exporting chickens to the French.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “If France and the ones who are in power now don’t ban me from running in the next election, I will be elected in the first round. But the problem is that France don’t want any intelligent people to govern Central Africa. And we have a kind of political class here that also doesn’t want a real patriot to govern.”
Narration: Back at the Morgue Malitongo, works day and night preparing the dead for burial. More bodies come in everyday.
SOUNDBITE [French], Man at Mosque: “What lives have they saved? We want to know. The problem started when France arrived. They brought more chaos than the Seleka. We knew how to fight the Seleka but it all started when the French came.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “The Central African people will become unhappy and wake up.”
Narration: In part 1 of this film we told the story of one French coup in the Central African Republic after another. In this part we will tell the story of how the country has now been ripped apart by another. When some local youths took us to see a dead body lying face down in a ditch, just one of the thousands of victims, as Muslims and Christians began killing each other, we thought we better report it to the Red Cross so they could take it away. But they told us they couldn’t help. The Red Cross worker told us that since there was now 70% peace in the country we better go tell the local police instead. Well, this is what 70% peace looks like. Most of the Central Africa is covered in forest. And in those forests thousands of people are hiding for their lives. Their houses have been destroyed. Family members killed. In some areas, small teams of UN workers are trying to help them. We followed one team to a church near the town of Mbaiki.
SOUNDBITE [English], Tammi Sharpe,Peace Building Advisor, United Nations: “We heard about this recent group that had come under danger. What we know is about 277 people. Today, a group of Muslims. We didn’t have a long conversation with the individuals because we were fearful we were putting them more at risk by drawing attention to where they were because they were hiding in the bush, essentially. They were attacked this morning.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “By who?”
SOUNDBITE [English], Tammi Sharpe,Peace Building Advisor, United Nations: “We believe it’s anti balaka. And they fled into the bush. So now, they are in hiding. So we’re trying to find a way to be able to evacuate them and relocate them to a place where they can be safer and where security can be guaranteed. We also even passed one bug camion and we thought, could this be where everyone looted everything.”
Narration: Tammi is trying to persuade the Priest to look after the people in his church. That’s if they can even get them there. Without protection form peacekeepers any Muslims caught passing through Christian areas will most likely be massacred.
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer:“Is this case unique?”
SOUNDBITE [English], Tammi Sharpe,Peace Building Advisor, United Nations: “No. We estimate that there maybe 22 000 people who could be at risk that are spread throughout that western…”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “And these are Muslims…”
SOUNDBITE [English], Tammi Sharpe,Peace Building Advisor, United Nations: “Primarily, yea…”
Narration: We drove for hours through the forest to the town of Boda. When we got there we found hundreds of Muslims huddled around the entrance.
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Youth: “The anti-balaka are threatening us so that’s why we have to defend ourselves. This morning they killed my grandfather.The situation is terrible. They are attacking us all the time.”
Narration: Food was given to them this morning by the world Food Program. It is barely enough to go around. Some of it is inedible.
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Leader: “For month and five days, we can’t move. We can’t even go across the bridge because of the anti-balaka.Scared? No. If we had some weapons we could fight back. This is my weapon.”
Narration: Most Muslims have already fled the country. Those that remain have effectively become prisoners in their own land. Unable to escape.
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Leader: “I am Central African. The whites came in 1956. Then, the muslims and the non muslims were living here together, in harmony.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Youth: “No, the French army are not really protecting us. No, there is no protection.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “The French army is not protecting you?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Youth: “No, there is no protection.”
Narration: Separating the two communities are the French army.
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Is it dangerous for the Muslims here?”
SOUNDBITE [French], French Army: “Yes.You have to be careful. But for you, the press it seems to be ok.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Do you take the weapons from the anti-balaka?”
SOUNDBITE [French], French Army: “Sometimes, it depends.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Depends on what?”
SOUNDBITE [French], French Army: “If they attack the muslims. But they don’t show their weapons to us.”
Narration: After we spoke to them, they retreated up to their base on the hill overlooking the town.
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Is it possible for muslims and Christians to live together again?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka: “It’s impossible. Not like this.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “What’s that for?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka: “It’s for me. It’s for killing Muslims. We take like this and cut here and here. If the Muslims want to leave we don’t have any problems with them. But if they don’t leave we’ll kill them. Even the women are bad like their husbands. A Muslim baby, the same thing.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “There are a lot of people in the world who would listen to what you say and think it’s a little aggressive.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka: “No, it’s not wrong. You see what they did! We all had to escape into the forest with our children because of them. They burnt our houses. Because of the Muslims. Why did they do that?”
Narration: When the largely Muslim Seleka left the town they burnt most of the Christian houses. The Anti-Balaka don’t just blame the Seleka but the entire Muslim population. This used to be a bustling town famous for diamond mining. Muslims and Christians have lived here happily together for centuries. Most of it has been destroyed. Only Christians will live here now.
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Youth: “Now, we only want to leave this village.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Where will you go?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim Youth: “Cameroon, Chad, anywhere. We are Central African, but the Christians don’t want us here now. We can’t stay here. There is no security.”
Narration: Back in the town of Mbaiki, there was one Muslim man who refused to leave.
SOUNDBITE [French], Alexander Kouroupe: “The rest of the Muslim population left but he decided to stay. The Muslims occupied an important role in our society. They were businessmen who made sure the community got all the goods they needed.”
Narration: I was born here. My children were born here. I’ve worked in the mayor’s office for 5 years. I’m a patriot. Why should I leave?” he said. 300 meters away is the base of the African peacekeepers who failed to protect him. The colonel shows me what happened. Just a few days ago, he left his office and was set upon. He was hacked with machetes. A local women cut off his genitals and they cut his throat. The peacekeepers arrested the culprits and handed them over to the head of police.
SOUNDBITE [French], Alexander Kouroupe: “They are free. They have been let go. We identified them and let them go because there is no place to keep so many people here.”
Narration: Mbaiki like most towns in Central Africa has now been completed cleansed of its muslim population. No one will ever be charged for his murder.
SOUNDBITE [French], Alexander Kouroupe: “We are going through a crisis. People manifest there anger in different ways. People were thinking that Muslims were a threat to them. Now, I think there are some regrets but they are not expressing it because the majority is against the Muslim community.”
Narration: In the capital Bangui, there is one district left where muslims are even remotely safe, Kilometre Cinq.
SOUNDBITE [French], Girl on street: “This is out television and these are plates.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “These are yours?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Girl on street: “No, they are my brothers.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “And why is he selling them?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Girl on street: “Because if we stay, the Anti-Balaka will come here and kill us.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “Here are the bodies.They were killed on Tuesday.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “All men?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “There are two women as well. The anti-balaka were trying to get inside this district. They youth of the district tried to defend it and they were killed. Here is the body of baby.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “How did he die?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “He died this morning. Her mother brought him here. He was sick.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Where is the mother?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “In the Central Mosque camp. So there is no one to treat him.”
Narration: First amongst the Imam’s responsibilities is now looking after the dead. More come in almost every day.
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Are all the Muslims here scared?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “Yes they must be scared because so many have fled. There are only a few Muslims left here. In the Friday preyers all this used to be full, inside, outside, onto the road. Now there are only a few inside preying. Everybody left. And they’re still leaving. But me, I want to stay. I am the Imam. I must stay at the Mosque to see the last episode.”
Narration: During our interview with the Imam, his son and local men were discussing events….
SOUNDBITE [French], Guys at Mosque: “We are talking about the game of the French President Hollande. He came the day before yesterday. He talked but he said nothing. He said that if there was no French troops there would have been a lot of massacres. But the French President is laughing about Central African Muslims. What about all these Muslims who have been killed? What lives have they saved? We want to know.The problem started when the French arrived. They brought more chaos than the Seleka. We knew how to fight the Seleka but it all started when the French came.Now, the anti-balaka are attacking. Grenades! They are always attacking us. If you want we can go. No its too dangerous.If we go there and they think you look like a Muslim, they will kill you. Even a child with his mother.”
Narration: We went straight to the hospital to find out who had been killed by the grenades. Youths had just come in with shrapnel wounds… suspected looters. “Ok, we’re entering the area controlled by the anti balaka now which is just next to the Muslim district. I’m beginning to feel not too safe. There’s check points with anti balaka controlling them. Some of them holding grenades and machetes.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka Colonel: “All these guys are anti-balaka. Even the women are anti-balaka. The majority of the population are anti-balaka. Come!The French army told us we can’t cross this street. On the other side is another zone. The zone of the Muslims. We can’t go there but we go just to show you.All these guys are anti-balaka.500 meters from here you will see the MISCA. (African peacekeepers) They are patrolling each night.You see the car there. Those are Muslim people.They stay in their zone. We stay in our zone. But every night they are firing.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Do the French army take your weapons?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka Colonel: “We don’t have any weapons. We are only using machetes and sticks.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “But I saw some guys just there with grenades.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka Colonel: “Where?”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Just there.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka Colonel: “Just there? Maybe he just found them. We don’t have any weapons.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “But I saw them with grenades.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Anti Balaka Colonel: “Maybe he just found them. But we are only using machetes.”
Narration: Anti French graffiti can be seen all around the Muslim district. I wanted to know why Muslims blamed the French who say they had come as peacekeepers.
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim in Camp: “Its because of the French army that the situation is so complicated. Before they came there were none of these problems. They started to disarm the Seleka and when they were disarmed they gave weapons to the anti-balaka.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “And now do they disarm the anti-balaka?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim in Camp: “We don’t understand whether they are disarming the anti-balaka or not. When the anti-balaka attacked the Muslims, the French were firing at the Muslims as well. Killing them. Then the Christians could come and loot all the houses. I have seen the French kill several Muslims in front of my eyes.”
Narration: This man shows me a picture of his brother Mohammed Tar.
SOUNDBITE [French], Tar’s Brother: “On Tuesday, 28th January, around 8:30, we were all together in our house. The French soldiers came and started firing. We ran in different directions. My brother one way, I, the other. Then I heard he had been killed by the French.Then we went to take the bodies but they fired on us again.”
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim in Camp: “All this chaos does not profit the Muslims or the Christians. It only profits the French. This way they will stay here in Central Africa. Without all this chaos they could not stay.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Why do the French want to stay?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Muslim in Camp: “They think that they colonised us so we must submit to their desires. They saved Central Africa from Seleka? But if there was no France, the Seleka would be able to overthrow Bozize? They couldn’t overthrow Bozize without France. It was them who brought the Seleka here. There is no more harmony between the Christians and Muslims. We became enemies. The French are not serious. They created all our sadness here. They are responsibly for what has happened.”
Narration: Increasingly its not just Muslims who are angry at the French. Not far away, Christians were holding a protest. Rumour, which turned out to be untrue, was that Seleka prisoners were being brought to this district. No muslims are wanted here. Young man walking by camera
“No to the French!” We thought we would be safe but we weren’t. Armed youths marched through the crowds. Being white they thought we were French journalists. After deaths threats were made to us, rocks thrown and guns pointed we made a swift exit. Even in Christian areas, the French are no longer welcome. By some still seen as peacekeepers. By others, occupiers.
SOUNDBITE [French], Joseph Bendounga, Former mayor, Bangui: “The French don’t think much of us and they walk all over us. But it will be difficult for France because sooner or later the Central African people will become unhappy and wake up.”
Narration: “We’ve just arrived in Combaton, a district of the capital, Bangui. We heard that a few Muslims were killed just recently, in the last hour. It’s very tense here. There’s a lot of French army. But there’s also a lot of hostility towards us as well.”
SOUNDBITE [French], French Army: “They don’t like journalists. They don’t like anybody.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “And for the French? Is it more difficult for you as well now?”
SOUNDBITE [French], French Army: “I can’t tell you that. Max! Make sure the journalists don’t go further than the vehicle.”
Narration: The Red Cross pull one of the bodies from the drain. When the area is clear, the French make a quick exit. Back in the forest, the United Nations teams continue to work to save as many people as they can. They will succeed with some. They will fail with others. Their simply isn’t enough international will to save lives in this country. Back at Ali Baba Mosque, one man is determined to stay.
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “Yes I will stay. I will wait for my turn.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Why?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “This is a sacred house. I am the guardian of it. It was God who decided to put me here , to guard his house. So why should I run? I can’t escape the anti-balaka. I can’t escape the destiny of God. If God decides the anti-balaka will kill me, I can’t avoid it.”
SOUNDBITE [English], Interviewer: “Are you scared?”
SOUNDBITE [French], Mamadou Baba: “No.”
Narration: Since conflict erupted in the CAR, events have been overshadowed by other conflicts around the world. Mainly in the Middle East and in the Ukraine. But the ethnic cleansing Central Africa is of historic proportions. The tragedy is not only that the violence continues but that similar conflicts are likely to happen again in other African countries in the near future.