Death Toll Surges in Crisis-Hit Central African Republic

Aid groups say more than 500 dead since Dec. 5 as French troops try to keep the peace

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William Daniels / Panos for TIME

Séléka fighters collected the body of a general who died during the battles launched on the early morning by the anti-balaka, in Bangui on Dec. 5.

The death toll from last week’s bloodshed in Central African Republic has topped 500, aid groups said on Tuesday as France’s expeditionary forces spread out on a mission to restore law and order in its former colony.

In the capital Bangui, Red Cross worker Antoine Mbao Bogo said his counterparts had collected 461 bodies since Dec. 5, when mostly Christian fighters and supporters of ousted President François Bozizé attacked ex-Séléka, the disbanded coalition of rebel groups that forced Bozizé to flee in March. The tally may be higher as it does not include Muslim victims whose bodies were brought to mosques for burial. Last week, photojournalist William Daniels told TIME he counted 58 bodies at the Ali Babolo Mosque in PK5 neighborhood.

The violent uptick occurred hours before the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution to allow France and the African Union to increase its ground presence and use force if necessary.

French President François Hollande traveled to Bangui on Tuesday after attending a memorial for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died at 95 last week. His arrival coincided with the news that two French soldiers—responsible for patrolling neighborhoods and disarming ex-Séléka militants and the rival anti-balaka vigilantes—were killed by gunmen.

On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hangel ordered the U.S. military to airlift troops from Burundi into Central African Republic, a predominantly Christian nation of 4.6 million people that has not seen this scale of internecine bloodletting before, in an attempt to quell the violence. A Pentagon spokesman said Hagel’s approval comes after French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian requested help in quickly getting more African peacekeeping troops into the country.

This week, the U.N.’s refugee agency reported an estimated 108,000 people have been displaced in Bangui alone since last Thursday, upping the total across the country to more than half a million since the crisis intensified in December 2012.

[AP]

33 comments
Jen Boyce
Jen Boyce

i differ on that opinion. They don't share with the UN their plans, etc. I wouldn't to forewarn nations. Iran apparently do. Africa are forever needing help, it is so tiresome. Kust my ueeducated political opinion.

Warren Flinn
Warren Flinn

that's because north korea is a mindless dictatorship and the CAR needs a helping hand

Marty Fennell
Marty Fennell

french troops are not there to restore peace they are there to stop christian women and children from being murdered by so called islamique armed thugs

Kristine Remick
Kristine Remick

So France is trying to police an ex-colony and asks us for help keeping the peace...so we send troops to help...Is it just me or isn't this the way the Viet Nam war started?

David Cover
David Cover

God Bless the GoD KinGs... Let there Be Peaceful Unity...

James Rocker
James Rocker

How is that keeping peace when 500 ppl died?

Jen Boyce
Jen Boyce

Stay out of Africa. North Korea wouldn't bother. They razor~sharp nation. Pingyong, razor~sharp leader ;)

Neven Mubarak
Neven Mubarak

The wife of "President Morsi": I own between my fingers the safe of the "White House" secrets and "Mrs Clinton" fears my bad temper! ************************************************ In an interview with the "Anatolia News Agency", the first lady, the wife of the Egyptian President "Mohamed Morsi" made important statements, and asked that we call her out to her eldest son's name "Um Ahmad". ********** You have a family friendship with "Mrs Hillary Clinton", so is she still a friend of yours, after the "Military Coup" against your husband? "Um Ahmad": My husband was kidnapped months ago, and he will return from kidnapping, and will practice his legitimate tasks as the President of the country, very soon, and sooner than what you think, and the "coup leaders" will pay dearly for their treason. As regards "Mrs Clinton", we have had a family friendship with her, for long years, for we lived in the United States, and my sons have learned there, which have consolidated more, after my husband became the "legally elected" President of the country. ********** Did she drop her friendship for you over the past months? "Um Ahmad": On the contrary, our contacts were not interrupted, and all are recorded, and she uses "Muslim brothers and sisters", formally and informally, to assist her in the management of the crisis in the "Middle East", as well as some joint business, and she relies on us, for her success in the next presidential elections, as we have done twice with the US President "Barack Obama". *********** And what about your relationship with first lady "Michelle Obama"? "Um Ahmad": Our relations are fine, but not up to the degree of friendship. ********** "Houma Abedin", is she close to you?! "Um Ahmad": I refuse the exposure to specific names, but you know that our sons and daughters are inside the "White House", and some critical agencies in the United States, and more than 70 countries around the world, and I have between my fingers the safe of their secrets, that is why they fear my bad temper. ********** Is there a reason that prevents women from leading the "Mujahideen" men?! "Um Ahmad": On the contrary, I currently lead the "Mujahideen", with virtuous wives in the "Muslim Sisterhood", some are married to kidnapped men too. I tell them that their patience of their denial of their legitimate rights, will be generously rewarded and that if their husbands martyred, we will arrange their marriage after the end of supposed period, and that we will spend money on their children. The authorities of the "occupation", fear facing women as well. ********** So, is the budget of the "Brotherhood" that huge? "Um Ahmad": We are at war and Jihad, and our booty, according to "Sharia Law" of the "Almighty Allah", and we spend generously for the superiority of the "word of Allah" and the "banner of Islam". ********** Shall we see the "banner of Islam" fluttering in the Western States soon? "Um Ahmad": God willing. God willing. Once you apply "Sharia Law" on the disbelievers here. *********** Don't you worry about the fierce media campaign against the "Muslim Brotherhood", as terrorism, and attempt to distort their image in front of the world?! "Um Ahmad": Absolutely, no. Our people know exactly what to do, and they do not save any effort ,money or innovation, and I'm not afraid to announce that we are preparing for a "coup against the coup". We are at war and Jihad, and we are so familiar with all instruments of war, ancient and modern, and I keep details for myself, because war is a hoax and my mind will not rest till the suspension of all traitors in Gibbets.

M Stephen Morrissey
M Stephen Morrissey

Supreme Deity indoctrination in Africa has been a curse from the start. It's time for world leaders to attest to this and save all these wasted lives.

AssassinAssault Elking
AssassinAssault Elking

LOOK CC "D we have to proud of our president morcibecause when we havee هههههههههههhttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=531249313638108 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjOkhHnlPOQ&feature=share http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J6pXIjikd0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESZkiMHB50A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxGkdykUzO4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcAgk-Xlbxw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz3HBcI4g1E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4z263q0C8M http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKmB1NjrQ2k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5-SZjZfkM8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRfyBHZy6O0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Mwp9a8-f8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-CBkZH5yCE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGrogcVZGLI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6InBw9hS2g البوم السيسى الجديد يا رب الم حقوا رقصنى يا عبيد البرسيم هههههههههه كل الابومات هنا يا بهايم السيسى هههههههههمفاجأة دوبلير السيسى رقاصة أو تحديدا "رقاص" شاذ جنسيا يثير الغثيان !! انا كنت شاكك فيه وفى عواطتشفه وفى بربشته اما كان بيقول انتم نور عنينا حسبنا الله ونعم الوكيل الحمد لله اننا من الشعب التانى:D

Justin Thornton
Justin Thornton

But isn't it our job to police the world?? We're America! Not Checkered Cab of Chicago!

Justin Thornton
Justin Thornton

Looks like a job for AMERICA! BRING THE DEMOCRACY!!!!! #sarcasm

Damien Puglisi
Damien Puglisi

Glad this is actually getting media attention now.

Ryan McDaniel
Ryan McDaniel

Notice something: this is happening even as the French are involved. America better learn from past mistakes and stay out of this... as tragic as the story is.