Central African Muslims Held Captive, Raped: HRW

2015-04-25 08:16:56 | Al Muslim News
Central African Muslims Held Captive, Raped: HRW

 

A leading international human rights group has urged the UN and the Central African government to save dozens of Muslims who are being held captive by Christian fighters and are at risk of sexual abuse.
“Holding civilians captive, killing children and sexually enslaving women and girls are shocking tactics by these anti-balaka and amount to war crimes,†Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, OnIslam.net reported.
“UN peacekeepers and government officials who have already taken bold steps to free one group of ethnic Peuhl should urgently intervene to free the others and arrest their captors.â€
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), at least 42 Muslim Peuhl herders, mostly women and girls, are still in captivity in the southwestern village of Pondo by anti-balaka Christian militias.
.Although several Muslims were released by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as MINUSCA, dozens are believed to be held captive in other towns, such as Gadzi and Gaga.
A catalogue of abuse has been shared by a Muslim family that was released by MINUSCA earlier this month, after being held for months by the extremist fighters of Pondo.
Two boys, aged 6 and 7, were killed by their capturers while three young women and girls were raped. One of them and her baby died of malnutrition.
CAR Muslims have been facing death at the hands of anti-balaka Christian militias since late 2013 and early 2014. According to UN reports, anti-balaka militias raided Muslim homes killing children and women, looting and vandalizing properties.
Along with killing, kidnapping, torture and arbitrary arrest and detention, in the war-torn CAR, a UN investigation found evidence of sexual violence.
Escaping death, many Muslims left to the western Muslim enclaves of Yaloké, Carnot, and Boda, only to be trapped. Last December, HRW warned that hundreds of Muslim residents in western parts of the Central African Republic are trapped in enclaves in deplorable conditions.
The researcher has also called for providing humanitarian aid to Muslim victims.
Citing HRW's bleak report of rights abuse, Mudge urged CAR government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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