by Eline Gordts –The Huffington Post
Last Wednesday, 120 European Union peacekeepers arrived in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. They took up positions at the city’s airport, where French soldiers had guaranteed security up until now. Lining the airstrip were hundreds of cardboard shacks and tarpaulins; the homes of thousands of civilians who had flocked to the foreign base in the hope of escaping the brutal violence that has rocked the CAR in recent months.
Events that occurred just ahead of the handover in Bangui made it painstakingly clear why the refugees were fleeing. Hours before the Europeans’ arrival, four people had been murdered in the streets of the capital. One Muslim man was found decapitated, his body heavily mutilated and his heart ripped out.
Wednesday’s killings were emblematic of the brutal fighting that has plagued the country since a rebel coup against President Francois Bozize triggered the worst ethnic violence in decades. Over a year into the chaos, the country is in shambles and the rift between its ethnic groups has widened to disastrous proportions.
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