Cannibalism, Child Mutilations in Central African Republic

Central african child peers through wall, photo by pierre holtz

Central african child peers through wall, photo by pierre holtz

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa -- Violence among Christian and Muslim militias in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains alarmingly high.

Despite intervention efforts, death and displacement continue. In this troubled environment, there have been reports of cannibalism as well as revenge-killings targeting children.

Ouandja “Mad Dog” Magloire, a Christian, has admitted to beating and stabbing a Muslim man before dousing him with petrol, setting him on fire, and eating parts of his body.

Magloire claims revenge as his motive, saying that Muslims had killed his pregnant wife, his sister-in-law and her baby.

The victim of cannibalism, who was attacked in broad daylight by Magloire and approximately 20 other men, was not personally connected to Magloire’s losses.

Other revenge crimes involve children who are mutilated or beheaded. Over 130 children have been killed or maimed since January, usually in machete or knife attacks. These are clearly crimes against humanity, but there is no justice system currently stable enough to hold anyone responsible for their actions.

Not only are children preyed upon in retaliation attacks, they are also often recruited into armed groups. During the evacuation and displacement of over 500,000 individuals, already-vulnerable children are more likely to be unattended and harder to protect.

Hope may come in the form of Catherine Samba-Panza. She was elected in January to serve a one-year term of interim president while the CAR, hopefully, gains stability. She has no connection to either Muslim or Christian groups and urges both sides to lay down their arms. So far, nobody seems to be listening.

South Sudan's Treacherous Growing Pains Continue


Jessamy Nichols, Africa CorrespondentLast Modified: 22:00 p.m. DST, 18 February 2014

South Sudanese Man Celebrates Independence, Photo by United Nations PeacekeepingAs the world’s youngest country, South Sudan is a country to watch in terms of stability, growth and development. The country has been entwined in conflict and hardship, especially with Sudan, for decades, and current events are proving to show little progress.

Unfortunately, there has been a reprisal of violence and political tension since mid-December, and the deep, complicated history of the country is making it increasingly difficult to resolve. In a pattern all too familiar to African countries, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has been battling insurgencies and destabilizing movements, led by his former deputy, Riek Machar. In the past, the two were comrades bonded in the fight for secession from Sudan. Now, the two have become enemies, each battling to hold ultimate power over South Sudan.

Since the renewal of violence between the leaders, thousands have been killed and nearly a million have been displaced from their homes and are now seeking refuge. This situation is never acceptable, but it is especially disheartening considering South Sudan’s development potential. The young country is extremely resource-rich, with several oil fields and a seemingly-endless supply of minerals. Most of these reserves are still untapped, and are thus harboring immense economic and growth potential.  However, if the conflict continues, South Sudan’s oil minister has said that oil production and its export to international markets may be hindered or even halted. Such a consequence would cause further setbacks for the country.

Currently, Kiir has been working to spread the word at events and meetings that revenge and renewed violence will not be tolerated and that citizens, especially the youth, should put national interests above personal vendettas. Kiir’s party, the SPLM, has even moved to promoting a new theme, “one nation, one people,” in order to emphasize the importance of national goals over ethnic divisions.

If the situation is going to improve and remain stable, there must be immense change in sentiment and action for all of the country’s citizens. Continued political strife and armed conflict will only bring the country further away from growth and success, and unfortunately, South Sudan is running out of time.

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

Will Ratko Mladić Escape Justice?


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 14:30 PM EDT, 18 May 2012

Mladić Sarajevo, 1993 (Wikipedia)THE HAGUE – It is unfortunate for the survivors of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica siege that resulted in the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys must continue to wait for justice. The aforementioned atrocities occurred under the leadership of Ratko Mladić, former Bosnian Serb military commander.

Mladić stands accused of directing the men under his command to shoot Muslim boys and men. Many of these premeditated murders occurred at the edge of mass graves so that the victims' bodies easily toppled into gigantic holes, some of which they had dug for themselves at gunpoint.

These atrocities recall to memory some of massacres that occurred in Europe during World War II. At the start of the trial the prosecutors explained in excruciating details the horror that his victims felt and the bodily injuries they suffered at the time of their deaths. Photos of the victims were also on display.

Mladić, 70, is a shadow of his former self, but his arrogance and defiance has not dimmed in the intervening years. He has demonstrated no remorse and during the trial has displayed frequent incidents of joviality and represented insouciance and disdain for the proceedings.

Technical errors were given as the reason for the continuance of Mladić’s trial. Specifically, the prosecution reviewed a voluminous amount of evidentiary documents to determine which should be disclosed to Mladić’s defense team.

Apparently, from the millions of documents reviewed, and the thousands provided to his defense team, it was discovered that several thousand more “pages were not accurately uploaded when they were sent,” according to Frederick Swinnen, advisor to the prosecution.

Swinnen claimed that this was an honest error that was recently discovered and that corrective action is underway. This brings scant comfort to the victims who expected the first witnesses to deliver their testimony at the end of this month, 29 May 2012.

This mistake cost the prosecution dearly as the defense is seeking six months more to prepare and review all the documents required to mount a defense on Mladić’s behalf. Prior to this discovery, they had requested and been denied a three month extension.

This is not the first time that Mladić has been on trial. As we previously reported, he was brought up on charges of genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a United Nations court, which has already sentenced more than 60 defendants from the Balkan wars. The defendants in this trial, including Mladić, stood accused of orchestrating the ethnic cleansing that result in the deaths or expulsion of non-Serbians from Bosnia.

Most of the women and girls were deported, but the men were not allowed to leave with them. Over 8,000 men who remained behind were summarily massacred upon Mladić’s orders. On 26 May 2011, Serbian security forces arrested Mladić in Lazarevo, Serbia. He had eluded apprehension for 16 years despite a large monetary award for his capture.

He has been indicted on 11 counts of charges including war crimes, crimes against humanity and two counts of genocide. The defense entered a plea of not guilty despite video tape footage of Mladić leading the men under his command on a 44-month siege of Sarajevo, in which 10,000 people died.

Mladić claims that he was not their commander and that he did not authorize the ethnic cleansing measures that resulted in the death of so many Muslim men. He attributed the carnage to mercenaries and radical fringe groups whose nationalism erupted and resulted in the expulsion and murder of the Serbian Muslims.

However, a July 11th video clearly refuted his claims of innocence. In the footage Mladić in his general’s uniform entered a deserted Srebrenica on foot, urging soldiers to advance and congratulating them. During the next 5 days, the ethnic cleansing campaign continued despite global outcry and in the end those not fortunate enough to have escape were buried in mass graves or their bodies left to rot in the deserted streets.

We hope that justice delayed does not result in justice denied for this would be the greatest tragedy of all.