Marcus Bleasdale - The Unravelling: Central African Republic

Together with Human Rights Watch Marcus uses his work to influence policy makers around the world. His work on human rights and conflict has been shown at the US Senate, The House of Representatives, The UN and the Houses of Parliament in the UK.

As the world media was focusing on more high profile conflicts, the Central African Republic became deadly and hateful, where thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands fled the country, but the international media largely ignored it. Marcus reported next to the violence on a daily basis for many months in between October 2013 and February 2015.

The environment was highly charged with killing on a daily basis, throughout the country, this was a hatred not seen on this continent since Rwanda in 1994. Neighbors killed neighbors regularly burned them on fires built with tires and other body parts. As people were being killed the next round of reprisal attacks would start immediately.

It is vital that this conflict is not forgotten and there is a record of the abuses, which is why it is such an honor to receive this award to create that document, which will hopefully be a formal and comprehensive document on this conflict.

This was the most brutal and hate filled conflict I have covered in over 15 years of reporting and it will rest in my memory for many more years to come.



 
A member of the Christian population around PK13 on the outskirts of Bangui runs through looted and burning homes of the Muslims who have fled after the Seleka President Michel Djotodia resigned and left the country in disarray The country was ruled by a minority Muslim government after the coup in March 2013. After months of oppression by the Muslim Seleka Government the local population take out their anger and frustrations on the largely innocent Muslim population.

 
The body of Nana Abdul Karim 34, father of 8 children, is carried back to his home for burial. He was shot, by French soldiers, while buying breakfast for his children. They reported he was demonstrating and firing a weapon at them, but most people in this district have only bows and arrows. The community is being attacked by anti balaka and penned in by french soldiers, they are trying to flee for Chad but there are limited trucks and resources.
 
People displaced by the fighting between ex-Seleka and anti-balaka forces find shelter in an old factory on the grounds of the Catholic church in Bossangoa.
 
Displaced in the camp in Mpoko by the airport in bangui. It is home to over 100,000 people who have fled Bangui centre to be closer to the French troops for security.
Anti Balaka on the road to Boda. They are going there to attack the muslim residents who remain there. Previous the muslims were protected by the seleka but they fled leaving the civilians to their fate. Over 40 muslims have been killed in the town in 5 days and nearly 50 Christians.
Yousufa, 11 is severely malnourished. He has been trapped in the enclave of Yaloke as politicians and the UN debate the evacuation of the group of 467 peuhl who are trapped here. In the meantime, they are receiving poor aid and assistance. 10% of their number have died in the past months. 
The mother of Eliam Fedongare 24, greets him and celebrates as he arrives home wirth his father Jean de Dieux. They were abducted in their farm by Seleka as they fled Bangui to carry their belongings for them. They were forced marched through the bush for 9 days and 4 of the others who were taken were shot and killed when they became too tired to continue. They escaped during an attack on a local village. 
A Christian market transporter is attacked by Muslims who are angered at the killing of one of their community and the injuring of another. They lynch the first non Muslim they can find. He escaped.
Civilians living close to the Seleka Camp Kasai celebrate as the Sleka fighters are moved out towards PK11. They have been living with the shadow of Seleka abuses for over nine months.
Civilians in the street in Combatant quarter kill and mutilate 2 muslims as people stand around watching and laughing. French soldiers arrived too late to assist. There are approx. 25 incidents each day in Bangui like this. 
A funeral of a young man 24 years old who died due to the security situation in Bangui.