The escalating violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) sparked by the murder of a motorcycle taxi driver at the end of September is threatening elections scheduled for later in October.
The CAR’s foreign minister appealed to the UN as the spiraling violence continues to make it difficult for relief organizations to work. The CAR plunged into crisis in December 2013, when Christian anti-balaka militia began coordinated attacks against the country’s mostly Muslim Seleka group, which had toppled the government of President Francois Bozize in March that year.
Shortly afterwards, Michel Djotodia was recognized as the head of the government. However, Djotodia resigned in January 2014 and was replaced by current interim President Catherine Samba-Panza.
The CAR government is blaming anti-election elements for the violence. Rich in diamonds, gold and other minerals, the CAR has long been a highly exploited and prized arena for Western powers. It is classified as one of the world’s poorest areas.