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Anti-balaka is the term used to refer to the Christian militias formed in the Central African Republic after the rise to power of Michel Djotodia. Anti-balaka means "anti-machete" or "anti-sword" in the local Sango and Mandja languages.[1][2] Michel Djotodia was the leader of the mostly Muslim rebel coalition known as Séléka that overthrew François Bozizé in the Central African Republic conflict (2012–13) in March 2013. Djotodia is the first Muslim leader of the country.[3] In September 2013 Michel Djotodia announced that Séléka had been dissolved[4] but most of the militias refused to disband.[2] The increasing violence was largely from reprisal attacks on civilians from Séléka's mainly Muslim fighters and the anti-balaka.[2]
As many Christians had sedentary lifestyles and many Muslims were nomadic, claims to the land were yet another dimension of the tensions.[5] In November 2013, the UN warned the country was at risk of spiraling into genocide,[6] was "descending into complete chaos"[7] and France described the country as "...on the verge of genocide".[8] On 2 December, anti-balaka militiamen are suspected to have killed 12 people, including children, and wounded 30 others in an attack on the mostly Muslim Peuhl ethnic group in Boali, according to the government.[9] This is amidst the Central African Republic conflict under the Djotodia administration.
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