4. Central African Republic Civil War
The days of genocide in Africa are over, right? Wrong. Thousands have been killed in the Central African Republic, with most now being targeted for their religion. While the conflict is on-going, the roots were planted back in 2004.
From 2004 to 2007, the CAR Bush War raged. The rebels were trying to overthrow General Bozize, who had seized control of the CAR government in 2003, disposing of the democratically elected (but unpopular) President Patasse. In April of 2007, the government signed a peace deal with the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity, ending the conflict.
In 2012, the government was trying to negotiate with the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), another rebel group that was active during the Bush war. The talks collapsed, however, and one major faction of the CPJP broke off, continuing the conflict.
The situation continued to deteriorate, and religious tensions heightened. Members of the CPJP, as well as other rebel groups, began to operate under a new banner, Seleka. The group consists almost exclusively of Muslims, who make up roughly 15 to 20% of the population. In March of 2013, they managed to overthrow the government, and install Michel Djotodia as the country’s first Muslim leader.
The Seleka fighters, however, did not lay down their arms and continued to attack villages and burn homes across the country side. Djotodia tried to disband the Muslim militants, but they refused to lay down arms.
In response to the rampaging Muslim militias, Christian militias took up arms and began launching attacks. These Christian militias are far from freedom fighters and have been accused of targeting Muslim women and children. In response, Seleka forces have increasingly targeted Christian civilians.
Now, French troops, UN peace keepers, Chad special forces, and numerous other troops have become involved. France sent troops to stabilize the country, UN Peak keepers are trying to prevent atrocities, and Chad was forced to evacuate Muslims from the capital of Bangui. African Union and other forces are also involved.
As many as 420,000 refugees have fled the country, while some 370,000 has been displaced internally. Now, Muslim communities in CAR are at risk of literally being erased, and Christian militias have been accused of ethnic cleansing.