Friday, April 25, 2014

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on Press TV's "The Debate": More French, US Military Intervention in CAR No Solution: Analyst
Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe
Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:1AM GMT

To watch this Press TV "The Debate" episode featuring Abayomi Azikiwe
just click on the website below:

Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, the Editor
of Pan African News Wire from Detroit, about French intervention in
the CAR, which has done little to contain widespread, brutal sectarian

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: The UN has raised the alarm, it’s announced the need for
more funds; it’s helped transfer more than 100 Muslims to safety, it’s
planning to send additional peacekeepers, but still, has it done
enough? What are its responsibilities at times like this?

Azikiwe: It’s a very difficult situation inside the country. It’s been
developing for many years. There has really never been a consistent
stable regime inside the Central Africa Republic since they gained
their independence back in 1960 from France.

Over the last decade or so we have seen consistent French intervention
inside the country. President Francois Bozize who had been in power
for approximately ten years began to take measures that the French
found not to their liking.

For example, they had signed an agreement for the People’s Republic of
China for the exploitation of some of the mineral resources inside the

France had troops inside the CAR during early 2013 when the Seleka
coalition, which was not a uniformed organization – it was composed of
four different organizations, which had come together under the
leadership of Michel Djotodia. When they entered strategic areas in
the Central Africa Republic, France did very little to prevent them,
particularly from entering the capital in March of 2013.

Since that time ... the Seleka coalition according to reports from
inside the country had engaged in a lot of atrocities against the
civilian population and then there was no real consistent or cohesive
administrative structure to governing the country.

And as a result of this there was widespread lawlessness as well as
further destabilization of the country.

With the outcry that rose both inside the country as well as
internationally and throughout the region there was pressure put on
President Djotodia who was an interim president. The entire government
of the Central African Republic was summoned to come to neighboring
Chad in January where they were forced essentially as a result of the
French dominance in that region to resign from their positions and
another interim leader was put in place.

This has not calmed the political situation between the dominant
Anti-Balaka forces today and the minority Muslim population, which is
under siege in various parts of the country.

Press TV: We know that an additional UN force has been planned – we’re
hearing 10,000 troops plus 2,000 police, but they’re not due to be
deployed until September and observers are saying that the more time
that’s being wasted the more dangers this Muslim community faces.

Some are saying the destruction of Muslim communities may even be
irreversible. So, why are we seeing this delay in action? It’s not
being treated, we could say, in an urgent manner?

Azikiwe: The existing forces inside the country consist of
approximately 2,000 French troops; another perhaps 5,000 African
peacekeeping troops from numerous states throughout the region.

We just had the withdrawal of troops from Chad because of the enormous
criticism related to their involvement inside the country – There were
accusations that they were siding with the Muslim population, but then
at the same time the Muslim population was dissatisfied because they
felt as if they were not given the proper protection from these
Anti-Balaka forces.

Recently at the European Union-Africa Summit that was held in Brussels
earlier this month there was a decision made to deploy a European
Union force as well and there has been German troops that have been
deployed into the country and there will be others from the European

However, all of these foreign troops that are currently occupying the
Central Africa Republic have done very little to first of all work
towards some kind of political solution to the conflict in the
country; also to provide humanitarian assistance that is in extreme
dire circumstances in terms of the people there; and also to employ
the necessary policing operations and peacekeeping operations that can
normalize the situation inside the country.

They are still fighting – in the last several days there have reports
of increased fighting between both Muslim forces as well as Christian

So I don’t think the deployment of additional United Nations or other
foreign troops to the country is going to be adequate to bring about
some type of stability inside the country.

Press TV: We are hearing that right now the Muslim minority in the CAR
have been restricted to a very small district in a small town. They
are being besieged by the Christian militia - We did hear earlier that
100 of them were escorted by UN personnel.

But what can be done for the thousands who are still trapped and are
being surrounded by this Christian militia? You say that these
additional forces are unlikely to be helpful? What can be helpful for
these people?

Azikiwe: As difficult as it is there has to be some political solution
to the crisis inside the CAR. We have seen numerous French
interventions both in the Central African Republic as well as other
countries throughout the region that are former French colonies. Our
position is that these interventions have not been successful.

In the Ivory Coast it resulted in the overthrow of the government of
President Laurent Gbagbo nearly three years ago; and we’ve seen as
well in Mali, the intervention of French troops has not necessarily
stabilized the situation in terms of long term development of Mali;
and we find a very similar situation inside the Central African

The narrative that Africa cannot deal with its own internal affairs
serves these neo-colonial interests from the perspective that it
provides a rationale for them to intervene on a large scale.

We see this happening in various geo-political regions throughout the
continent whether it’s off the West African coast in the Gulf of
Guinea where now they are conducting naval operations; whether it’s
off the Horn of Africa where flotillas of war ships have been
stationed now for at least 5-6 years.

There are many other examples of increasing US and French military
interventions in Africa and these interventions are done ostensibly
under the guise of strengthening the security capacity of the African
states to manage their own internal affairs; but the results have been
quite the opposite.

So I don’t see more French intervention backed up by the United States
as being a solution.

Press TV: You referred to a political solution. I’d like you to
elaborate for us how that political solution is possible and between
which sides?

These attacks that took place initially they were called revenge
attacks, but then they intensified, it’s not easy to call them revenge
attacks anymore because ordinary people, civilians who were not at all
affected by the conflict, are now being killed. So, how can a
political solution work?

Azikiwe: I think first of all we have to realize that most of the
weapons that are being utilized against the Muslim population are
traditional weapons. They don’t appear to be hand guns, automatic
weapons or more sophisticated military hardware.

That in and of itself should indicate that with the existence of at
least 2,000 French troops it would appear as if they would be no match
for the troops from Paris.

And also they have the logistical support as well of the United
States, which has been flying in French forces, also helping in terms
of transporting military equipment and they also have US Special
Forces that have been in the Central African Republic for the past two
and a half years ostensibly in a campaign along with the Ugandan
defense forces to hunt down members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the
LRA, which started in Uganda about two decades ago and it was reported
recently that one of their top commanders was captured.

But I think the African Union Peace and Security Council has to be
strengthened and their political status has to be respected by the
European Union. And there have been efforts underway particularly in
the last few weeks to undermine the authority of the African Union.

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