I took a few more photos during my meanderings around Bossangoa. I generally avoid taking photos of people without their consent (i.e. few candids) and I try not to whip my camera out in crowds, so these photos don’t capture the lively and bustling town with it’s multiple buzzing markets and reckless moto-taxi traffic. Bossangoa is a city without a center, made of diffuse neighborhoods spread over a wide distance along the Ouham River. Even in it’s busy state lately, and as these pictures reflect, it still looks empty, like a village, not the 2nd biggest city in CAR.
Bossangoa had at one point a population of over 40,000 people. The 5,000-strong Muslim community has been ethnically cleansed from Bossangoa– killed in the pogrom of December 2013 or, after months sheltering behind armed African Union troops in the 2-block radius École Liberté displaced people’s camp, evacuated by commercial truck to barren refugee camps in Chad.
The anti-Muslim pogrom was a (insane, grotesque) reaction to the Seleka occupation over mid- to late-2013. When the Seleka entered Bosangoa, guns and bayonets blazing, the town sought refuge at the Catholic Mission.
Compare this photo from September, 2013, when the Seleka were in control of Bossangoa with the Cathedral today:
And this one vs: