Evidence of massacre uncovered in Central African Republic

Armed forces accused of killing 18 people and other atrocities

Former rebels of the Seleka coalition patrol on Oct. 8 in Bangassou. The Central African Republic has been shaken by a spike in clashes between ex-rebels of the Seleka coalition that led the coup, who are Muslim, and local self-defense groups formed by rural residents who are Christian, like 80 percent of the population.
Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

Al Jazeera has uncovered evidence that armed forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) were responsible for a massacre that took place on Oct. 26, a few miles from the center of the town of Bouar.

Eighteen people were killed in the incident, the youngest victim just two weeks old.

Landlocked CAR – a nation of 4.6 million people – has slipped into chaos since a coalition of fighters named Seleka took control of the capital, Bangui, and deposed President Francois Bozize in March of this year.

Human rights organizations estimate that thousands of people have been killed amid the deteriorating security situation.

Michel Djotodia, the Seleka leader, has claimed himself president of CAR.

He announced on Sept. 14 that the Seleka alliance had been dissolved after it was blamed for a wave of violence, but attacks have continued throughout the country.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri in Bangui, Djotodia admitted that Seleka fighters do not follow his orders.

"When we arrived in Bangui, all the jobless, big-time bandits and escapees from prison...dressed in uniform and said they were Seleka," he said.

"It is difficult for me because I don’t know who they are. It is hard for me to control them."

Last week, senior U.N. officials told the U.N. Security Council that CAR is at risk of genocide as armed groups incite Christians and Muslims against each other in the virtually lawless country.

CAR is rich in gold, diamonds and uranium, but decades of instability and the spillover from conflicts in its larger neighbors have left it mired in cycles of crises.

The African Union plans to deploy a 3,600-member peacekeeping mission, known as MISCA, in the country. It would incorporate a regional force of 1,100 soldiers already on the ground but is unlikely to be operational before 2014.

Al Jazeera

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