Rising Cannibalism in Central Africa, Blacks Eating Each Other in Civil War Apocalypse


Mosques attacked and Muslim homes and business looted in retaliation against Seleka rebels, with incidents of cannibalism reported.

Reports of cannibalism and other horrific acts of violence surfaced in the Central African Republic on Saturday night as Christian militias went on the rampage following the resignation of the country’s Muslim president. Western-backed peacekeepers, including French and African Union troops, were attempting to restore order after Christian mobs destroyed mosques and attacked Muslim neighbourhoods in the capital, Bangui.

The mobs sensed the upper hand after regional mediators brought about the resignation on Friday of President Michel Djotodia, who last night was bound for exile in the West African state of Benin.

Sectarian violence has already claimed more than 1,000 lives in the CAR in past month, and yesterday, eyewitnesses spoke of how a machete-wielding gang ate parts of the body of a Muslim man after attacking him on Tuesday.

The reports have echoes of the grisly stories about the country’s late dictator, Jean Bedel Bokassa, who was alleged to have practised cannibalism during his rule between 1966 and 1979.

Charges of cannabalism against him were later dropped, despite widespread rumours that he had kept human limbs in fridges and even served parts of them to visiting French dignitaries.

Last night’s AFP reports were corroborated by an aid worker who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph, who said: “They were taking machetes to people and burning the bodies and eating them.”

The violence was said to have been carried out in retalition for rampages carried out by Mr Djotodia’s Seleka militias, who helped him sieze power in the CAR last March.

The first Muslim leader to wield power over the CAR’S Christian majority, his rule triggered ten months of instability that has led to a fifth of the population being displaced, and to France ordering peacekeepers into the former colony in late November.

Paris acted after warnings from the United Nations of all-out civil war in the land-locked country, the sixth poorest in the world despite vast mineral wealth.

According to Pastor Antoine Mbaobogo, a resident of Bangui, at least three people died overnight on Friday, including a Christian vigilante. Sporadic gunfire was head throughout the city as crowds of looters broke down the doors of shops in Muslim neighbourhoods.

“Those who were looted when the (mainly Muslim) Seleka (rebels) arrived (in March last year) are now looting in turn,” Mr Baobogo said.

There were also fears of retaliation by the Seleka rebels as several mosques were attacked and dismantled by looters. “It’s impossible to live with the Muslims,” one looter said. “We don’t want Arabs in Central Africa.”

Mr Djotodia, who studied in the former Soviet Union and worked as a tax official before becoming a rebel commander, had originally promised an inclusive government when he siezed power, with a prime minister picked from the opposition.

But his failure to disarm and rein in his militias cost him the confidence of key regional allies such Chad, who then pressurised him to step down.

Candidates to replace Mr Djotodia have yet to emerge, but the interim parliament, whose members returned from a regional crisis summit in Chad yesterday, is due to hold a special session on Monday. The head of the transitional body, Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, will be temporary head of state for a maximum of 15 days.

While his departure and exile is expected to ease tensions in the long term , diplomats believe more peacekeepers are needed to stop further flare-ups.

France has already deployed 1,600 troops in the country to support the African Union MISCA force, which is meant to have up to 6,000 troops but has not yet reached 3,500.

On Friday, European nations agreed in principle on a plan to launch a joint military operation, with a final decision expected on January 20, an EU source said.

With much of the country’s 4.5 million population in need of food aid, aid agencies have warned of a major humanitarian crisis in Bangui’s overcrowded refugee camps and in the vast hinterland.

The United Nations has warned that both ex-Seleka rebels and CAR former soldiers have crossed into the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo, causing local residents to flee.

(source: The Telegraph)

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