Inside a Civil War Most People Have Never Heard Of

Photographer Marcus Bleasdale reports on the conflict in the Central African Republic where good and bad morph into a fight for survival.

In recent years the Central African Republic (CAR) has posed some of the most vexing questions in Africa: How does a relatively large country (roughly the size of France), with a small population (4.5 million) and vast resources (including gold, diamonds, and timber), become a failed state? How does a place that has avoided major conflicts over its 57 years of independence and one that was most often seen as a haven for refugees from neighbouring war-torn countries suddenly find itself become a killing ground?

Seeking answers to these questions, photographer Marcus Bleasdale and writer Peter Gwin travelled throughout the Central African Republic as it has reeled from a brutal civil war that has left thousands of its citizens dead, nearly a million displaced, and the nation’s meagre infrastructure in ruins. Their story, "The Burning Heart of Africa," appears in the May issue of National Geographic magazine.

During his years of reporting, Bleasdale also captured numerous hours of video footage that documents the unfolding of the conflict and provides an intimate look beyond the headlines. This is a view into the daily lives of the people trapped in the chaotic disintegration of their country and their determination to survive and rebuild.

WATCH: Since 2013, Marcus Bleasdale has documented the harrowing conflict in CAR for Human Rights Watch and National Geographic. Viewer discretion is advised.

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay