Violence Rampant as Central African Republic Spirals Into Further Decline

A rebel group has been accused of looting, raping, abducting and killing locals and sending the already fragile nation into anarchy.

Posted: 08/07/2013 11:00 AM EDT

At the volatile intersection of political unrest and economic deficiency, a crisis looms in the Central African Republic.

A rebel group known as Seleka, the Sango word for alliance, has been accused of terrorizing residents following a successful coup in March.

Rivers littered with floating bodies, buckets of blood and other horrific details were depicted in a recent New York Times article exhibiting the current state into which the landlocked former French colony has fallen since its elected president was ousted and its Constitution suspended.

Current Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, a former human rights lawyer considered a forced talking head for the rebel leadership, told the Times that the country had deteriorated into an anarchic “nonstate.”

“Looting, arson, rape, massacres of the civilian population — they are sowing terrorism,” he said.

The New York Times reports:

The United States abandoned its embassy here months ago. “Now we are in a phantom state,” said a Western diplomat who has stayed on here. “It’s extremely dangerous. People are afraid for the future, and they are right.”

The crisis has been a long time in the making. Isolated in the middle of the continent, with few roads out or natural resources, the Central African Republic became independent in 1960 after a brutal six-decade colonial reign by France. But the former colonial power would continue to meddle in the cycles of coups, rebellions and violent transitions that have marked the country’s history ever since, though it is taking a back seat now. “Weariness” has overtaken Western officials faced with the turmoil, the diplomat here said.

The state had already nearly disappeared under the corrupt rule of Mr. Bozizé, who was president for 10 years before being chased out by the rebels. He had led a previous rebellion himself and is now in hiding, probably in the region, though even the government says that is not certain.

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

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