CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa -- Violence among Christian and Muslim militias in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains alarmingly high.
Despite intervention efforts, death and displacement continue. In this troubled environment, there have been reports of cannibalism as well as revenge-killings targeting children.
Ouandja “Mad Dog” Magloire, a Christian, has admitted to beating and stabbing a Muslim man before dousing him with petrol, setting him on fire, and eating parts of his body.
Magloire claims revenge as his motive, saying that Muslims had killed his pregnant wife, his sister-in-law and her baby.
The victim of cannibalism, who was attacked in broad daylight by Magloire and approximately 20 other men, was not personally connected to Magloire’s losses.
Other revenge crimes involve children who are mutilated or beheaded. Over 130 children have been killed or maimed since January, usually in machete or knife attacks. These are clearly crimes against humanity, but there is no justice system currently stable enough to hold anyone responsible for their actions.
Not only are children preyed upon in retaliation attacks, they are also often recruited into armed groups. During the evacuation and displacement of over 500,000 individuals, already-vulnerable children are more likely to be unattended and harder to protect.
Hope may come in the form of Catherine Samba-Panza. She was elected in January to serve a one-year term of interim president while the CAR, hopefully, gains stability. She has no connection to either Muslim or Christian groups and urges both sides to lay down their arms. So far, nobody seems to be listening.