France triggered Bangui, Central African Republic, slaughter
As the Central African Republic descends into a charnel house of mass killing, hunger and fleeing refugees, one country bears full responsibility for the catastrophe - France.
This week, France's defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had the brass neck to tour the former French colony where hundreds of people - mainly Muslims - have been lynched in the streets in recent weeks, their corpses left to rot along the roadsides.
Thousands more have been burnt out of their homes and have fled to the jungles for refuge from inter-communal clashes. A Muslim man happened to fall off a truck ferrying refugees from the violence. He was then beaten, hacked to death by a frenzied mob on the street below.
An entire country has been turned upside down, and that chaos and suffering is all down to French imperialist meddling.
Le Drian had the nerve to claim that the dispatch of French troops to the Central African Republic in early December "had prevented even more deaths from occurring". How dare the French minister distort the facts and exonerate his country from the cold-blooded mass murder and an unfolding humanitarian crisis that it - and it alone - has triggered.
The upsurge in killings in the CAR's capital, Bangui, and the surrounding countryside began promptly on December 5. This was three days after France began sending hundreds of its soldiers to that country, supposedly with the remit of "humanitarian protection".
It was only after France dispatched its troops to this country that the United Nations Security Council - railroaded by French diplomats - authorized the intervention with a mandate. The French military intervention is therefore illegal and its hastiness reveals what the hidden agenda for French meddling in Central Africa is really all about.
Prior to the arrival of the French military, there were only unconfirmed reports of sporadic fighting between the mainly Muslim rebel group known as Seleka and the Christian-based paramilitaries called Anti-Balaka. The Seleka ousted the French-backed Christian president Francois Bozizé in March 2013. Bozizé had been installed by a French-backed military coup in 2003. His ouster can be seen as a setback to French political and economic interests in the CAR. However, it was only after French so-called peacekeepers arrived in the CAR on December 2 that mass killings erupted in the African country.
Two major factors for the ensuing violence are that the French from the outset showed flagrant bias against the Seleka rebels, ordering their unilateral disarmament at gunpoint. Meanwhile, the Anti-Balaka factions were allowed by the French to retain their weapons. This one-sided policy by the French emboldened the Christian militias to see themselves as having a free hand to attack Muslim communities.
The French defence minister admitted so this week. Speaking to French media from Bangui, Le Drian said that French disarmament practices had up to now been focused solely on the Seleka rebels. "Now we must focus on the Anti-Balaka," he added.
But it's too late for supposed remedial action. Already, thousands of people, mainly Muslims, have been slaughtered across the Central African Republic. Thousands more have fled their homes for the neighboring countries of Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Families are living in makeshift shelters with no food or medicines.
The ethnic cleansing of an entire community has already happened, and for the French government to now say that it is taking remedial action is beneath contempt. France has already overseen the slaughter. The second factor for the sudden massive bloodletting in the CAR is that several weeks before the dispatch of French soldiers, the Paris government was making very public announcements to the international media, warning that the African country "was on the brink of genocide". Foreign minister Laurent Fabius was one of the main voices issuing those blood-curdling predictions.
These dire alarms were being made recklessly by France without any evidence to support such claims and at a time when, as noted, there were only unconfirmed reports of sporadic violence. In addition, the French media spin was directed against the Muslim Seleka rebels, which had ousted France's puppet and corrupt proxy leader, Bozizé.
Thus when French soldiers began arriving in the CAR in early December, the country was primed for a deadly sectarian conflict because of the campaign of misinformation conducted by Paris in the previous weeks. Despicably, the fact is that the Christian and Muslim communities, comprising 60 and 15 per cent of the population, respectively, had always coexisted peacefully prior to this French meddling.
France has played with sectarian fire in Central Africa, and now other people are being horribly burned. The situation has been inflamed so badly by the cynical French that they are not able to control it. Now Paris wants the UN and other EU countries to send more troops to support the already 1,600 French military present in the CAR. The hidden agenda for Paris has always been about securing the rich natural resources of this Central African country. The CAR has super-abundant reserves of gold, diamonds and other precious minerals. It is believed to have vast untapped deposits of oil and gas, and proven copious reserves of uranium ore. The latter is the primary nuclear energy fuel, on which France is heavily dependent for its national electricity production. A new French-owned uranium mining plant began operations in the CAR in 2010 and is due to reach maximum production later this year.
This is the real background for why France felt compelled to intervene in the CAR, especially after its puppet president Francois Bozizé was ousted by the Seleka rebels.
But, paying the price for French criminal machinations, are thousands of innocent people who are being cut down in the streets, children who are orphaned from murdered parents, and impoverished, dispossessed families who are now starving in the jungles of Central Africa.
Truly, the brutal European colonial times of a past century seem to be back in Africa with a vengeance.
And yet the man who bears the responsibility for his country's criminality in Africa - French president Francois Hollande - was being toasted at a sumptuous dinner in Washington this week by African-American president Barack Obama. Obama, with a glass of expensive wine in one hand, hailed Hollande for his country's commitment to "security and peacekeeping" in Africa.
A day of reckoning cannot come soon enough. Just because these leaders are deluded does not mean we should ignore them or merely excoriate them. The international community must marshal the case and call for the prosecution of these criminals in high office.