Central African Republic declares curfew in capital

Central African Republic announces curfew following dozens killed in religious clash in capital Bangui

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A man strikes a burning motorbike with a machete after it was set ablaze in Bangui

Updated Sep 28, 2015

After two days of sectarian fights, which left at least 36 people dead and many wounded, the Central African Republic (CAR) declared a curfew in the capital centre, Bangui, said officials on Sunday.

Christian militants built barricades and occupied the streets, as protesters lifted the barricades on Sunday, a day after fatal sectarian fights broke out in the capital.

The conflicts were reportedly sparked by the murder of a Muslim man, whose dead body was left beside a mosque on Friday.

The United Nations Peacekeeper soldiers used tear gas as some local people piled up tree trunks on the streets to obstruct Bangui's basic arteries.

"Enough is enough. We want [President Catherine] Samba-Panza to go. Since she's been there the Muslims kill with impunity. She's doing nothing to disarm them," one protester said to Reuters.

Thousands of Central Africans have died and hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their homes, following two-years of violence that erupted as the Muslim Seleka rebels came to power in the Christian dominated country in 2013.

After overthrowing President Francois Bozize, Seleka leader Michel Djotodia took over the nation as president, until he was pressured into resigning by regional leaders in 2014.

Shortly after, the National Transitional Council elected Catherine Samba-Panza as the interim president.

She is the first woman to hold the post in the CAR and was welcomed by both sides, as she is non-partisan.

The country’s Security Minister, Dominique Said Paguindji blamed the recent violence on both anti-balaka (Christian and animist militias) and Seleka groups as well as supporters of the former President Francois Bozize, who'd like to see him in the office again.

"These armed groups don't subscribe to a logic of disarmament and want to split the country," he said and added "all of these people have the same interest in wanting to see the transition ruined and the coming elections halted."

Voters will elect a new government when they go to the polls on October 18. However, the election is expected to be delayed again and some analysts say that transitional authorities should first focus on making more progress on disarmament.


TRTWorld and agencies