JYUHEISEN -Blood Diamonds in Central Africa Republic-
Central African Republic (CAR) has been engulfed by a civil war. It is often described as a religious conflict as a major alliance of rebel forces, Seleka, consists mainly of Muslims while the other group, Anti-balaka, is primarily Christians. There are, however, other causes of conflict such as historic rift between powerful South and marginalized North and antagonism based on tribes and languages. In addition to those differences, abundant natural resources, especially diamonds, have played a significant role in the conflict.
Since the internal conflict erupted in 2013, CAR’s diamonds have been deemed as so-called “conflict diamonds” and banned from international transactions based on the Kimberley Process, a scheme established in 2003 to prevent armed groups from illicitly trafficking diamonds to finance conflicts.
In such a backdrop, the Banegbele camp is a “Miraculous mine” where Christians and Muslims live and dig side by side. As the Christians occupy the western part of the mine, it seems almost a “miracle” that Muslims also work there as mine workers.
What is happening at diamond mines in CAR where warring factions compete for their ownership? Diamonds add splendor to shining moments like marriage proposals, anniversaries, award ceremonies and dinner parties. But their beauty and charm may also play an evil role. A behind story of the miracle gem that have attracted human beings.
The Norwegian Refugee Council named CAR’s conflict as top of its The World's Most Neglected Displacement Crises based on its lack of political will to end the crisis, lack of media attention and lack of humanitarian support. Since the conflict started in 2013, nearly 980,000 people have been displaced as of May 2017, including some 480,000 who fled the country.