The Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international rights group is urging the UN peacekeepers to urgently intervene to free the nomadic women and children hostages being held by Christian anti-Balaka fighters in Central African Republic (CAR).
The rights group says members of a nomadic Muslim group in the Central African Republic are being held captive by radical Christian fighters and are at risk of sexual violence.
The group urges the world body to act fast with a view to bringing their captors to justice.
The HRW reported that the Christian anti-balaka fighters are holding at least 42 Muslim Peuhl, mostly women and children, in South West of the country and committing acts that amount to war crimes.
Researcher Lewis Mudge, with HRW, said the anti-balaka fighters are sexually enslaving women and killing children, tactics he called “shocking.”
The statement follows the rescue in April 4 and April 5 of a group of 13 Peuhl held hostage by anti-balaka fighters in the South Western village of Pondo.
UN peacekeepers said the captors killed two young boys and raped three women, one of whom became pregnant and died in childbirth. Her baby later died of malnutrition.
The rescued Peuhl said that anti-balaka fighters are holding more captives in towns and villages near Pondo, where they, too, may be in danger of murder and sexual assault by their captors.
HRW said reports by the recently freed captives, witnesses and other sources indicates dozens of other Peuhl are being held, some for more than a year.
The rights group called on the UN and government officials to “urgently intervene” to free the other Peuhl and arrest their captors.
SOURCE: Agency News