Violence in CAR kills at least 21 people

Seleka’s attack Christian neighbourhood over killing of Muslim man in Central African Republic

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Seleka militants with their weaponry in a neighbourhood seen in archive photo

At least 21 people have been killed and 100 injured in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic (CAR), when Seleka's attacked a Christian neighbourhood, according to senior hospital officials and a government spokesman.

Saturday’s attack comes after a Muslim taxi driver was killed and his body found dumped in a street, witnesses and a Muslim group spokesman told news agencies.

The assailants used automatic guns and grenades. They also attacked The Voice of Peace Muslim community radio station and a church, Reuters has reported.

Witnesses say, thousands of inhabitants escaped to other parts of the city as the attackers burned houses and cars. They also stated that UN helicopters, which are part of a peacekeeping force, flew overhead but not much was done to stop the attacks.

Secured by French and UN soldiers, the capital Bangui had not seen violence for months, until a grenade attack that claimed at least two lives earlier this month.

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

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

Shortly after, the National Transitional Council elected Catherine Samba-Panza as interim president. She is the first woman to hold the post in CAR and was welcomed by both sides, as she is non-partisan.

Voters will elect a new government when they go to the polls on October 18.

But the election is expected to be delayed again and some analysts say transitional authorities should first focus on making more progress on disarmament.

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

"These armed groups don't subscribe to a logic of disarmament and want to split the country," he said.

"All of these people have the same interest in wanting to see the transition ruined and the coming elections halted."



TRTWorld and agencies