from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR)
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE killings and sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) sometime in 2021 could be qualified as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OUNHCHR) published how a militia made up of fighters previously part of a group known as “Anti-Balaka” killed at least 20 civilians, raped five females and burned about 550 homes in the Boyo village in Ouaka prefecture from December 6 to 13.
The UN Mission (MINUSCA) documented cases of sexual violence in Mbomou and Haute-Kotto prefectures by the Popular Front for the Rebirth of CAR (FPRC) and Unite for Peace in CAR (UPC).
Nearly 245 women and girls were victims of sexual.
Most of the victims, aged between 8 and 55, were gang raped.
Some of the worst violence was committed in the town of Bakouma, in Mbomou, a town that was under the control of armed groups until May 2021.
The victims were raped as they went into the bush or to the market to find food, the report stated.
Some victims were held as sex slaves and raped repeatedly for several days.
“This unprecedented level of sexual violence in the Central African Republic is shocking and heartbreaking,” Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated.
“The cruel stories told by victims of sexual slavery and sexual violence describe crimes that should never have happened,” she added.
“However, it is alarming to note that not only have these acts been committed, but that they are still being committed,” Bachelet lamented.
The country of 5 million people is synonymous with conflict.
It peaked in 2013 when rebel groups overthrew then president, Francois Bozize.
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s government, in power since 2016, has battled retaining control of the restive country.
– CAJ News