The Central African Republic (CAR) descended into a crisis after President Francoise Bozize was overthrown in a coup. The ongoing tensions between political factions soon became a religious one, when ordinary Muslims and Christians turned on each other as the violence escalated across the country. Thousands have been killed and almost a quarter of the population displaced in a conflict that is fast spiralling out of control. Al Jazeera's Hyder Abbasi explains the story in 60 seconds.
World's most neglected conflict rages on in the CAR
Violence in the Central African Republic has fallen from the world's radar, but that does not mean the conflict is over.
A comprehensive new report by the UN, released this week, makes the extent of the devastation abundantly clear. It should draw urgently needed attention to this bloody crisis and spur action to help it end.
The 369-page "Mapping Report" documents serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law from 2003 to 2015, and in the Central African Republic the task was immense. An eight-member team conducted field investigations and combed through 1,200 documents. They cover 620 crimes "of the most serious gravity" committed by various parties, including village burnings, killings and rape.
UN sees early warning signs of genocide in CAR.
UN sees early warning signs of genocide in CAR.
Renewed clashes in the Central African Republic (CAR) are early warning signs of genocide, the UN aid chief said on Monday, calling for more troops and police to beef up the UN peacekeeping mission in the strife-torn country.
Some 180,000 people have been driven from their homes this year, bringing the total number of displaced in the CAR to well over half a million, said Stephen O'Brien.
"The early warning signs of genocide are there," O'Brien told a UN meeting following his recent trip to the CAR and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We must act now, not pare down the UN's effort, and pray we don't live to regret it."
Muslims return to CAR to find their homes are gone
Observers warn that if land and property are not returned, there will be no peace in the Central African Republic.
M Babakir Ali cuts a lonely figure sitting on a plastic chair outside a rundown cafe in the PK5 district of Bangui.
Once the owner of five houses and 18,000 square metres of land in the Foulbe district of Pk13, on the outskirts of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Ali is now reduced to a pair of jeans and a short white sleeved shirt. The thin vertical stripes are faintly visible beyond the creases. He is a refugee in his own city.
"I left for Chad in January 2014 because of what happened on the streets of Bangui," Ali says.
Ali says he watched as bodies of young Muslim men were dragged through the streets of the capital and then piled at a local mosque in what was to signal the changing fortunes for Muslims in the country.
He was right.
In early January, Muslims in the PK5, PK12, PK13 districts of Bangui were hunted down, mutilated, burned alive and left on the streets. Muslims in the towns of Bossangoa, Bozoum, Bouca, Yaloke, Mbaiki, Bossembele and others also fled, as Anti-balaka embarked on a reign of terror across the northwest and southwestern regions.
Ali gathered his family, and fled to neighbouring Chad, too.
With the unrest in Bangui lifting in 2016 as the country neared elections, he decided to come home.
But he knew he would face a new struggle on his return.
"I knew my houses and my land, that everything had been taken," 45-year-old Ali says. "I knew I would be coming back to nothing."
Ali speaks in short and abrupt sentences. The already battered plastic chair bends and shifts with his every gesture. There is a calm dissonance in his moist, jaundiced eyes even as he explains that his property was sold to a third party by a local chief.
"I am not the only one. So many from my district have returned, and have nowhere to go," Ali says, looking away.
More information about the situation in Central African Republic (CAR) here: http://www.islamawareness.net/Africa/CentralAfricanRepublic/
Democratic Replublic of the Congo (DRC) violence displaces 3.8 million: UN
Senior UNHRC official says the number of people displaced in the country has nearly doubled in six months.
The number of people displaced by conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has nearly doubled in the past six months to 3.8 million, according to a UN official.
George Okoth-Obbo, the number two official at the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR), said food and clothing was needed for the 1.4 million in the volatile Kasai region who have fled their homes in violence that has killed more than 3,000 people.
"Immediate protection" was required, he told AFP news agency on the last day of a three-day visit to the country, in particular for children "who are sleeping in conditions that are difficult to imagine".
According to the UN's Okoth-Obbo, about 33,000 Congolese have fled the region for Angola, and "the conditions today in Kasai are such that we cannot encourage or promote the return of refugees".
Okoth-Obbo added that the country is also having to cope with the arrival of about 500,000 refugees fleeing fighting in Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Central African Republic - where about 60,000 people have fled to Congo this year.
UN: Millions of people face acute hunger in DRC
UN food agencies say number of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance surged by 30 percent in a year in DRC.
About 7.7 million people are on the verge of starvation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a 30 percent increase since last year, according to UN food agencies.
The number of people on pre-famine levels of food insecurity and requiring urgent humanitarian assistance rose from 5.9 million to 7.7 million between June 2016 and June 2017, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.
One in 10 people living in rural areas suffers from acute hunger, while chronic malnutrition affects 43 per cent of children under five years, the FAO report said.
Claude Jibidar, director of WFP's operations in DRC, said on Monday that the situation was especially dire in the diamond-rich central Kasai region where a revolt has been raging for the past year, with both government and fighters accused of atrocities.
"Food security and nutrition ... are deteriorating in many parts of DRC, but nowhere is the situation more alarming than in Kasai," he said.
According to the FAO report, farmers have been unable to plant their crops in Kasai for the past two seasons because of fighting that has seen their villages and fields pillaged.
An estimated 1.4 million people in Kasai and in the eastern province of Tanganyika had been forced to flee their homes this year, it said.
A steady flow of refugees from neighbouring countries and a spread of fall armyworm infestations are also putting a strain on resources, according to the report.
"The situation is set to get worse if urgent support does not come in time," said Alexis Bonte, the FAO's representative in the DRC.
"Farmers, especially those displaced - majority women and children - desperately need urgent food aid but also means to sustain themselves, such as tools and seeds so that they can resume farming."
Conflicts have displaced about 3.7 million people within the country, according to FAO.
More information about Islam and Muslims in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) here: http://www.islamawareness.net/Africa/DRC/
For generations, immigrants from other African countries have comprised a significant minority of residents in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. These immigrants constitute several distinct “stranger” populations within Congolese society. While they play a significant role in the Congolese economy, they also encounter discrimination in their daily lives and face hostility from indigenous Congolese. Popular discourses in Brazzaville widely represent African foreigners as a malevolent presence and a threat to Congolese interests. Such discourses fit into broader conflicts over identity, belonging, and access to resources on the continent. This paper, based on ethnographic and survey research carried out in Brazzaville, examines the case of that city’s immigrants from the West African Sahel. It situates tensions between them and their hosts in the context of contemporary political and economic dynamics in post-colonial Congo, and specifically links them to exclusionary place-based identity as a political force in contemporary Africa.
For more information on Congo-Brazzaville: http://www.islamawareness.net/Africa/Congo/