Sparked in March 2013 by the ouster of longtime President François Bozizé, communal violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to rage, despite escalating international peacekeeping efforts and a newly inaugurated interim president. At least 2,000 people have died so far; according to the United Nations, more than 1,000 people have been killed in the past two months alone. In his FP dispatch, "Riptide," Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, reports from the ground in Bangui amid the chaos and the fighting: "The Seleka, a predominately Muslim group of fighters that seized Bangui, the capital, and toppled the CAR's government in early 2013, has lost strength and some ground, though the group continues to terrorize wherever possible. In response, Christian forces known as anti-balaka ("machete" in Sango, the local language) have stepped up attacks against Muslim civilians in places where the Seleka fighters no longer hold the sway they did just a few months ago." And the toll of these attacks are mounting. After visiting the Bangui morgue, Bouckaert writes that the death records "read like a chapter out of Dante's Inferno, page after page of people being killed by machetes, torture, lynching, shooting, explosions, and burning."
Photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale, currently in CAR with Bouckaert, visually documented the ongoing, brutal violence.
Above: On Jan. 22, Christian children living close to the PK13 quarter, a neighborhood located on the outskirts of Bangui, are seen with anti-balaka looters who are burning the homes of the Muslims.