||The Central African Republic (CAR) has been in the throes of a humanitarian crisis for more than a decade. Army mutinies, coups and attempted coups, rebellions, gangs that kidnap for ransom and, more recently, elements of Uganda’s notorious Lord’s Resistance Army have made life for civilians, especially in the north, extremely challenging, unpredictable, and very dangerous.
As IRIN’s new documentary film, Under the Gun, demonstrates, many Central Africans have little say over where they live even. Countless villages in the north lie abandoned, crumbling with disuse, their residents ensconced nearby in makeshift bush camps, too scared to return.
Details of perpetrators vary from village to village and depend on the year of what are euphemistically referred to as “events”. But for the most part, the story is the same: one day in 2003, or 2006, or 2007, or 2009, men with guns – government soldiers, Chadian soldiers, mutinous soldiers, rebels – fighting other men with guns, turned up at dawn, shooting, sometimes executing, often setting fire to every thatched roof.