The Devil Tried to Divide Us

2014, Military and War  -   51 Comments
Ratings: 8.65/10 from 179 users.

In December of 2013, VICE NEWS went to the Central African Republic (CAR) to try to understand an underreported conflict that was descending into, what the United Nations called, complete chaos.

The week before they arrived they saw some of the worst violence with hundreds killed in the capital of Bangui. France and the African Union, already with a small troop presence, rushed in more soldiers to try to keep the peace.

What started as a rebel coalition overthrowing a corrupt government was now becoming a conflict split across religious lines. In a small, mostly forgotten country in the middle of Africa we witness a major turning point conflict, one that would lead to horrific ethnic cleansing.

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in the middle of Africa. Despite being full of natural resources, like gold, diamonds and uranium, it's one of the poorest countries in the world. After being ruled by France for decades the country gained independence in 1960. Since then it suffered one coup after another in no small part due to the meddling of neighboring countries like Chad and Sudan, as well as its former colonial master, France.

In 2003, François Bozizé seized power and began a 10 year reign of incompetence and corruption. Different rebel groups rose up and by the end of 2012 a number of them formed an alliance called the Séléka, a mostly Muslim rebel coalition led by Michel Djotodia.

The current conflict really took hold in March of 2013 when the Séléka overthrew the Bozizé's government and set about terrorizing the country... raping, murdering and looting. Djotodia declared himself president in April and then proved either unwilling or unable to reign. In response, mostly Christian self defense groups called the Anti-Balaka formed and started fighting back. Civilians were caught in the middle as the fighting grew increasingly sectarian.

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51 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. OceanRush

    Why ... why does the international community even bother sending troops, equipment, supplies and money to Africa?? Why? It's waste of time and effort and resources. Just leave the bunch to kill and loot - time will sort it all out ... without costing the international community a cent ...

    1. Guest

      I'm afraid that this is the only solution. International (UN) intervention, wellmeaning or otherwise, very seldom produces a lasting agreement amongst the warring factions, especially where there's riches aplenty. This is humanity's curse.

  2. Guest

    Thank you for sharing this.

    I worked in RCA for 4 months this past year and I have to say, despite whatever religious motivations people may divine from the comfort of their own homes, the fact of the matter is, this conflict is people killing other people for no apparent reason. It is heartbreaking and tragic when young boys, young women, elders, ANYONE is riddled with bullets or killed by shrapnel from a grenade thrown upon a funeral or simply walking down the street.

    There is no right side, Anti-Balaka or Séléka. If you speak with the citizens, there is fear for all. There is anger, there is immense pain in this country. But to debate this conflict as speaking to higher religious issues is erroneous. The people of RCA are strong. They are resilient. They come to work every day when their parents and brothers and sisters and children have been brutally murdered the night before. Instead of theorizing, let us feel compassion. Let us do everything we can to help. We need to stop killing each other.

    1. mauricemojo

      so it wasnt muslims killing christians like there doing in sudan,ethiopia,nigeria,egypt,iraq,syria and the list goes on

  3. Fight racism

    As always Black Scholar is trying to incite racial hate by promoting the idea that Europeans are to blame for everything!The neigbouring countries also helped quite a lot and CAR's corrupt goverment also plaid it's role!It is always easier(for a racist) to assign blame than to try and find the cause of such a conflict(religious hate,failed economy,corrupt gov,outside meddling etc.)Geez give it a rest with your racist rant!!!!

    1. southernsepia

      Reality is not racism. Take some time to learn a little history.

    2. bluetortilla

      Well, like it or not, it has in fact been the Europeans (and now the U.S.- same heritage) that have been subjecting the rest of the world to slavery and oppression, along with killing their own people in major world wars. There are pretty much as you describe- to blame for everything.
      On the other hand there is nothing in their genome that has made them more evil than other groups of people. There just the latest civilization to have stumbled upon the tricks of maintaining mastery and colonization- of maintaining empire. If you do in fact examine history, the Europeans are just one amongst countless groups of humans who made it their agenda to systematically control and dehumanize other. That's what empires do- nothing to do with skin color. Plenty to do with evil.

    3. burnnnn

      You're a racist fighting against racism. Makes sense.

  4. Black Scholar

    you got that right. The DEVIL is the MONEY behind this war. Now, I wonder who could that be? Who benefits? OH, that's right. Your ex-colonial masters. And you know, those colonial masters are DROWNING now days. Watch "the four horsemen" for clarity

    1. bluetortilla

      Agreed but with a caveat. Though from European ancestry (which I had no choice in one way or another), I have never been or ever was associated with any neocolonialists nor do I in any way regard them as 'my' people. The same goes for the country that OWNS me- the country that gave me a number at birth and keeps tabs on me with a passport. They are not 'my' people or 'my' country.
      Most likely, my ancestors were squeezed out of marginal land digging potatoes where they were barely managing to stay alive. They went to America to be slaves in factories just like all the other slaves in the world. For the common peoples, I'd say we have a common history.

  5. shafawn

    There are pages and pages and pages of studies and articles written from all over the world indicating the increase of Muslim violence.
    You just won't publish any of the addys ... as I said all along

    1. bluetortilla

      Man, you still at it? Why don't you do some research and publish something? Does it really surprise anyone that after several hundred year of domination that there is backlash of the Muslim world against the West? Hell, there is a back of Western people against the West. The West cannot ignore its past.

      Given the fact that Muslims (I'm using the term loosely) make up about one-third of humanity their participation in the course of painful human events doesn't surprise me.

      Why don't you read Salman Rushdie or some other more secular people of Islamic background? Why don't you travel through some Islamic countries and actually learn something about the people there instead of flapping your yak?

    2. burnnnn

      You must be joking. The west has been dominating the middle east for hundreds of years? You must be from another planet.

  6. bluetortilla

    This is the best VICE production I've seen and I learned heaps more about the CAR situation than I've been able to glean from mainstream media.
    The VICE crew are a courageous bunch and deserve kudos. These guys put their lives on the line to get this footage, to help us get closer to the truth. They may not be the greatest reporters but they're impeccable journalists.

  7. Jedo

    Holy shit dude...Vice people are getting increasingly tired of life towards the end of the show. I've seen what happens in Africa; I would shit my pants if I ended up in the fighting.

    At least everyone has a bunch of family to lose...or maybe that's the problem - if everyone only had 2 parents and every child was the only child then everyone would be more careful.

    1. bluetortilla

      Jeez, couldn't you put a bit of mortar between your hyperbole? And frankly, I have no idea what you mean by that last statement. Are you saying that if I had four kids I would love them less? You're saying that there is consolation in losing one child out of four as opposed to losing your only child? Wow, what a totally offensive idea!

  8. shafawn

    Recent studies show death by Muslim is rising all over the world.
    Why is there so much murder from the religion of peace?

    1. mojo

      it will only be the religion of peace once all other religions are subjugated,islam is an occult,we should cut this cancer out before it spreads

    2. bluetortilla

      Boy, you sure need to read some history. Do you really think that Islam is the only religion that has tried to subjugate others? Do you know of 'any' (as in 'name just one') power that brought peace to the world after successful military conquests? In fact, since civilization began has there ever been peace among nations at any time ever?
      It appears Islamic radical imams swinging swords above microphones in front of thousands of the jihadist faithful have left you swooning.

    3. mojo

      lol are you for real are are you another muslim apologist,islam has been killing and subjugating others for 1400 years,islam spreads through fear and terror and thats why its not a religion,can you tell everyone what the penalty is for apostasy in islam,nowhere in the quran does it state allahs love for non believers,rather it commands that they be subjugated to pay the jizah or killed,look at syria,egypt,iraq,kenya,somalia,central african republic,nigeria,sudan,ethiopia,to name but a few.when christians create atrocities they are betraying christs teaching and committing a sin,but when a muslim kills he is emulating the prophet ,i suggest you do some homework BOY before you try becoming a polemicist,good day

    4. bluetortilla

      Perhaps it would be better for you to calm down a bit, sir? I don't think rants of intolerance will get you much sympathy.
      Maybe you should study the Mongolian Empire as well to give you something to compare with. Especially the Sack of Baghdad.

    5. LoggerheadShrike

      Which recent studies?

    6. shafawn

      Wow there are tons of studies published all over the net. Unfortunately I can't copy paste website addys here but simply type Jihad statistics ...
      'Islam: Making a difference one body at a time.
      "Statistics on Violent conflict, Islam, Terrorism and Islam.
      "Islamic terrorism attacks on American soil"
      If you just type in Muslim Terrorism in the world there is site after site of Muslim murders being committed right now all over the world in a host of countries.
      They are killing Christians everywhere but U.S. and Europe.... but if people don't wake up it could come here too.

    7. LoggerheadShrike

      Which ones show an increase? There hasn't been an Islamic terror attack on American soil in over a decade. Where are these "recent" studies showing an increase?

    8. Dorel_C

      It doesn't have to an atack in US !! What , the rest of the world doesn't count ??

    9. LoggerheadShrike

      Shafawn's response was "Islamic terror attacks on US soil" - I pointed out this hasn't happened in over a decade. I didn't bring up attacks on US soil; just pointing out that in the only place he named, there have been no attacks recently. Crappy example.

      He can't name a study, and just says "go Google" ... if you're going to say "recent studies show" be prepared to show *recent* studies, not talk about things that happened 12 years ago and tell people to go Google things when it turns out you don't know any such studies at all.

      As the old tune goes - you gotta know when to fold 'em. If those cards aren't in hand you'd better hope nobody calls the bluff. So it goes.

    10. bluetortilla

      Anyone with one half of a wit knows that the premise is not worthy of being qualified with discussion. So why are we?

    11. shafawn

      Wow....just wow
      Carry on oh so superior one... Keep those eyes wide shut

    12. bluetortilla

      That's just unfair. You should put a little more consideration into your statements. Blanket statements like the one you've made are bound to meet resistance. Simply put, they're not true and they dehumanize. I will concede to being superior to that, thanks. Maybe the onus is now on you to see the light and be more balanced in your judgements of one third of this world's population.

    13. LoggerheadShrike

      Look at my name: I like to stick these insects up on a thorn and watch them squirm. That's why. Pure sadism.

      Why you or anyone else is commenting, I can't say.

    14. bluetortilla

      However I must say i'm supportive. Maybe an ignorant mind can actually change.

    15. LoggerheadShrike

      A young one can. But other than that, no, its hopeless. You can't change the world by talking to fools. I just get my kicks forcing the devils who want to maximize suffering in this world, to look at themselves, to rub their noses in the s*it they drown the world in. They deserve it.

    16. shafawn

      I gave you the names of recent studies that are on the web. I can't open up your brain and pour in the information. I can not read it for you. If you want to have a closed mind then obviously you can remain in la la land with your rose colored glasses... Islam is the religion of peace. (lol)

    17. LoggerheadShrike

      The one study you cited that had anything to do with *recent* events disagreed with you entirely - it shows conflict deaths are dropping massively, on a global scale. falling from high levels between 2001 and the end of the Iraq war. The only place figures are up is in Syria, where radical Islamists are attacking the regime with Western support.

      The other two you named - one wasn't a study at all, but just a rather rabid opinion essay from an anti-Islamic blog that likes to use a lot of pictures of Mr. Smith from the Matrix, and the other was about 911, which was over a decade ago.

    18. shafawn

      Sweet dear Logger head... good name for you.
      Can you copy paste any study to this site? Have you tried dear heart? It cannot be done. It I not allowed. It is against their web site rules. They won't let you copy paste any articles on this website from another website.
      Sheesh ....
      OPEN YOUR EYES... Look around on the web..
      Google - "Muslim violence "country name"

    19. LoggerheadShrike

      You can't really be that dumb. I don't believe it. You could NAME a study - there isn't any problem with typing a name. That you can't paste an url is nothing but a feeble and lame excuse. The simple truth is that you DON'T KNOW of any such studies, and that's why you can't name any. The reason you don't know of any is because there aren't any. I can just imagine: you went looking and then, after looking at the studies, realized very quickly that radical Muslim violence has dropped off very sharply over the last few years, instead of increasing. You probably ignored all of them and kept looking for one to confirm what you'd decided before you even saw the facts, and still couldn't find one. And now you can't name one, and are stuck with feeble stuff like "go google" and "I can't post an url" instead of simply naming a study - which, unfortunately for you, is simply impossible.

    20. bluetortilla

      Are you suggesting that eliminating Islam will bring about a lasting peace in the world?
      I'd say the murder is in the hearts of the fearful and angry.

    21. shafawn

      Wow are you dense? I'm not suggesting eliminating Islam. I'm stating that Muslims are trying to eliminate everyone else.

    22. Samuel Morrissey

      Generalise much?

      Just a wild stab in the dark here but I'm guessing you're basing this assertion on your personal experience of the zero Muslims you know personally?

    23. shafawn

      I actually had 3 Muslim women friends from Iran when I was in college. They didn't have many cheerful things to say about being women in Iran. They talked about being force to live under chadors and asking permission to leave the house and the curfew for women not enforced on men. Not to mention the extreme punishment allowed by law on women who 'disobey'. Yea I'm sure it's a giant leap forward and we should all embrace it... you first.

    24. Samuel Morrissey

      Well, nice try to put words in my mouth. So these Muslim women you knew wanted to eliminate all the non Muslims did they? Are you aware that there are Muslims in countries other than Iran, and that these other countries have different laws that people are required to abide by Muslim or otherwise?

    25. bluetortilla

      Well if you really want to get into childish name-calling, if I'm dense you're sponge cake.
      What do you mean that the Muslims are trying to 'eliminate' everyone? Which Muslims, all of them? If they are trying to eliminate everyone then by your logic should we putting an end to them before they put an end to us? You should investigate what other bad guys there are in the world besides Muslims, and what it is that militants are responding to.
      No matter how sophisticated and complex war seems to get, it almost always boils down to the control of resources.

  9. Albert Potato

    One man interviewed hopes that the peace keepers will go from house to house and take all the weapons away and it will solve the violence? Most of the weapons were machetes, kitchen knives, sharpened sticks and home-made bow and arrows. Good luck with that.

  10. bringmeredwine

    This situation reminds me of Rwanda.
    By now, most of the Muslim minority have fled to the north, some have entered Chad.
    Human Rights Watch reports peacekeepers from Chad, part of the African Union Force, have been supporting the Seleka rebels.
    There are currently 2,000 French soldiers and 6,000 African Union troops.
    Observers fear jihadists from Nigeria and Somalia will get involved.
    Local politicians who spoke out against the militia groups have been assassinated.
    I really feel bad for the civilians and the aide workers.

  11. NoRighty

    Very good and informative documentary. Thanks for sharing.