Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, blogs from Bangui
One of the most depressing aspects of the ongoing violence in the Central African Republic is its symmetry.
Christian and Muslim militia alike are carrying out equally vicious attacks. And members of both communities, while denouncing each other’s crimes, will tell you that their own people are acting in self defence.
With each new outrage, the pattern of tit-for-tat atrocities becomes harder to break.
The day before yesterday I interviewed a Christian man who recounted how he was nearly killed in a raid last week on the outskirts of Bangui, the country’s capital. Shot in the side at close range, he survived by playing dead; he claims that others from his neighbourhood were not as lucky.
“It was the Peuhls,” he said, referring to an ethnic group of nomadic Muslim herders. “They were armed with Kalashnikovs.”