Anti-balaka

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Antibalaka
Active 2013–present
Ideology Christian radicalism[1][2]
Leaders Levy Yakete (MRPRC)
Patrice Edouard Ngaissona (CPLC branch)[3]
Richard Bejouane
Sebastien Wenezoui
Joachim Kokate
Area of operations Central African Republic
Opponents Séléka
Battles and wars Central African Republic Conflict

The Anti-balaka are Christian militias formed in the Central African Republic after the rise to power of Michel Djotodia in 2013. Some members have forcibly converted Muslims to Christianity.[4]

Terminology[edit]

Though "anti-balaka" is often translated as "antimachete", its origin is explained:

[It is] from the language of the young illiterates, who formed Seleka’s armed opposition, and who chased the Muslim ‘anti-balles à ti laka’ (anti ti laka bullets). The term ‘laka’ in the street language of the Central African Republic means an AK-47. The anti-balakas are therefore the bearers of grigris meant to stop Kalashnikov bullets.[5]

History[edit]

The anti-balaka militias originally formed in the 1990s as village self-defense forces.[6][7] Some militiamen are animist.[6]

In March 2013, President François Bozizé (a Christian) was overthrown in the Central African Republic Civil War by a mostly-Muslim rebel coalition known as Séléka. The leader of the Séléka, Michel Djotodia, then became the first Muslim president of the country.[8]

Djotodia announced the dissolution of the Séléka in September 2013,[9] but most of the militias refused to disband.[10] The Séléka and the anti-balaka engaged in a cycle of increasing violence,[10][11] including reprisal attacks on individuals believed to be civilians by many.[who?]

As many Christians had more settled lifestyles and many Muslims were nomadic, claims to the land were yet another dimension of the tensions.[12] In November 2013, the UN warned the country was at risk of spiraling into genocide,[13] was "descending into complete chaos".[14] France described the country as "...on the verge of genocide".[15] On 2 December 2013, anti-balaka militiamen are suspected to have killed 12 people, including children, and wounded 30 others in an attack on the mostly-Muslim Fula in Boali, according to the government.[16] This was amidst the Central African Republic conflict under the Djotodia administration.

Early 2014 marked a turning point; hardened by war and massacres, the anti-balaka committed multiple atrocities.[6] In 2014, Amnesty International reported several massacres committed by anti-balaka against Muslim civilians, forcing thousands of Muslims to flee the country.[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/02/19/ethno-religious-cleansing-plagues-the-central-african-republic/
  2. ^ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/02/19/ethno-religious-cleansing-plagues-the-central-african-republic/
  3. ^ "CAR Militia Leader Arrested in Congo Brazzaville". Voice of America. February 26, 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  4. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/201507311230.html
  5. ^ See: “La République centrafricaine: le naufrage d’un Etat, l’agonie d’une Nation», Didier Niewiadowski, Revue d’étude et de recherche sur le droit et l’administration dans les pays d’Afrique, May 2014, quoted in Blood Timber, How Europe Helped Fund War in the Central African Republic (Report), End Notes n. 21, p. 48
  6. ^ a b c Andrew Katz (May 29, 2014). "‘A Question of Humanity’: Witness to the Turning Point In Central African Republic". Time. 
  7. ^ C.Africa militia is an enemy of peace: French commander, apa.az, recovered 14 March 2014
  8. ^ "Religious tensions rise in C.Africa after coup". AFP. March 31, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "CAR’s Djotodia dissolves Seleka rebel group". AFP. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Unspeakable horrors in a country on the verge of genocide". AFP. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "CAR's death toll much higher than thought, says Amnesty". BBC News. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "'We Live and Die Here Like Animals'". Foreign Policy. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "UN warning over Central African Republic genocide risk". BBC News. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "BBC News - Central African Republic 'descending into chaos' - UN". BBC News. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "France says Central African Republic on verge of genocide". Reuters. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Central African Republic militia 'killed' children". BBC News. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Christian threats force Muslim convoy to turn back in CAR exodus". The Guardian. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "France and the Militarization of Central Africa: Thousands of Muslims Fleeing the Central African Republic". The Guardian. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.