The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – The United States was “alarmed” by violence in Central African Republic, where two days of clashes left dozens dead, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Thursday urging authorities to move quickly to hold elections.

“The continued sectarian fighting only deepens the country’s wounds and makes reconciliation more difficult,” Kerry said, adding the United States was “deeply disturbed” by the discovery of 20 bodies in a mass grave in the capital Thursday.

It was not clear if these figures were included in an earlier death toll by the Red Cross which said it had recovered 40 bodies since Wednesday.

“The United States believes that this crisis can only be resolved through a political process that leads to fair and inclusive elections as soon as possible,” Kerry said, citing a deadline of February 2015.

The vote is needed to ensure Central African Republic has “a legitimate government that represents the will of the people,” he said.

Central Africa spiralled into chaos after a March coup in which the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel group overthrew President Francois Bozize.

Rebel leader Michel Djotodia was installed as president and disbanded Seleka, however many of the rebels went rogue, spreading terror which government forces could not stop.

Months of massacres, rapes and looting followed, with locals forming Christian vigilante groups in response.

In the last three weeks, Bangui has been hit by deadly sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims as a combined force of 1,600 French troops and 4,000 African Union soldiers has been struggling to restore order in the notoriously unstable nation.

“The United States is alarmed by the December 24 and 25 attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR) by both Seleka and Anti-Balaka fighters against civilian populations in the capital Bangui” which also killed five Chadian peacekeepers, Kerry said Thursday.

Further complicating matters, the Chadian contingent of the AU peacekeeping force has been accused of siding with a mostly Muslim former rebel group in the strife-torn majority Christian country.

Kerry commended the African Union and French peacekeeping forces, expressing confidence they would “act robustly to protect equally all civilian populations, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation.”

AFP Photo/Noel Celis

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Vladimir Putin

Intelligence officials in Great Britain are telling reporters that “the Kremlin’s real goal is to mobilize 1 million,” in the planned conscription announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, according to The Guardian newspaper in London. British defense officials “reiterated in a briefing on Friday that it was their belief it will be very hard for Russia to reach 300,000, never mind any larger figure.”

Keep reading... Show less

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}