Central African Republic

"I do not know what to do with my life or those of my children"

Zenaeba is 45 years old, she has seven children and used to live in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Last April, she had to risk her life and the lives of her family to seek refuge in the PK12 neighbourhood in order to escape the confusion created between Seleka group members and ordinary Muslim civilians. Many went to that neighbourhood to hide from the threat of machetes at large.

Bodies found in ditch

Two of Zeneaba’s children, Asabala (30) and Mahaman (25) died when they tried to join the rest of the family. The first one tried to hide in the back seat of a Christian friend’s car, but Anti-Balaka militias discovered him and he was executed. Mahaman tried it on a motorcycle, but was also intercepted and killed. Their father found the bodies in a ditch hours later.

Separated from husband

Zeneaba found room for her family in a convoy organised by the Chadian army to evacuate the Muslim population of the capital, but unfortunately she was separated from her husband and one of her children, who were put in a different truck. Along with their other four children she crossed the country towards Kabo amid great distress. The trip was full of surprises -including three births- and the convoy was attacked by Anti-Balaka militias up to the town of Dekoa. Arriving at their destination, Zenaeba learned that her husband and son had gone through to Chad. She has not seen them for three months.

Deeply traumatised

Deeply traumatised by the experience, Zeneaba went along with her children to the MSF hospital in Kabo. She suffers chronic migraines and back pain, while all her children had to be treated for malaria.

Although she was able to plant a small vegetable garden beside her hut at the IDP camp, Zeneaba had to rush the last remaining francs to buy food after prices have quadrupled. She no longer knows how to feed their children. Nevertheless, she doesn’t want to leave her country.