Dozens injured in Central African Republic capital as militia clash with peacekeepers

  • World
  • Thursday, 21 Aug 2014

BANGUI (Reuters) - At least 30 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, in fighting between local militia and international peacekeepers in the capital of Central African Republic on Wednesday, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers said.

The clashes erupted after residents of the PK-5 neighbourhood - home to some 2,000 Muslims who have braved sectarian violence to remain in Bangui - accused the European Union force (EUFOR) of shooting dead a man late on Tuesday.

EUFOR said in a statement one of its patrols had opened fire after it was attacked in PK-5 district. It did not confirm whether anyone was killed in the incident, however.

A crowd of protesters brought a man's body to U.N. headquarters on Wednesday, saying he had been shot dead by EUFOR in his home, before taking him to a mosque in the PK-5 neighbourhood.

Shortly afterwards, heavy gunfire and shelling was heard around the PK-5 neighbourhood, residents and MSF reported. The medical charity said its team in the General Hospital had received 31 injured from gunshot wounds and its team in PK5 had been forced to seek shelter.

"Ten critically wounded patients will receive surgery today," MSF deputy head of mission, Claude Cafardy, said in a statement.

Bangui residents said a helicopter from the France's separate Sangaris peacekeeping mission flew over PK-5 on Wednesday, as gunfire sounded. It was not clear who was firing.

Arun Gaye, a trader in PK-5, said by telephone the helicopter had opened fire on people on the ground, but a Sangaris official denied this.

The former French colony has been gripped by violence since Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels and some fighters from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, seized power in March 2013.

Seleka's rule was marked by abuses that prompted the creation of the anti-balaka militia. Cycles of tit-for-tat violence have continued despite Seleka leader Michel Djotodia resigning the presidency in January under international pressure.

Some 2,000 French and 6,000 Africa Union peacekeepers have been deployed to Central African Republic, but they have struggled to help the weak transitional government stamp its authority on the mineral-rich country.

A 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force is due to start deploying next month, with much of its staff coming from the existing African mission.

Most Muslims have fled the south of the country, creating a de facto partition, but some member of the Seleka leadership have pushed for this to be formalised.

The armed group has rejected the nomination of a new Muslim prime minister, Mahamat Kamoun, a former head of cabinet to Djotodia, saying they were not consulted on his appointment.

The president of Central African Republic's transitional parliament, Alexandre Ferdinand N'Guedet, called on Tuesday for a delay in the formation of a new government, saying that there had not been enough consultation in Kamoun's appointment.

(Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette and Hubert Mary Djamany in Bangui; Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris, Daniel Flynn in Dakar, and Christian Elion in Brazzaville; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Alison Williams)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

Youths block road, rail link between Djibouti, Addis Ababa - official
Turkey detains 200 Afghan migrants en route to Italy - coastguard
Iran's Khamenei blames "cowardly" U.S. for pause in nuclear talks
Norway again postpones end to COVID lockdown
Amid pandemic, Argentine couples ask 'can I bring a child into this world?'
Peasant roots to president: the unlikely rise of Peru's Pedro Castillo
U.S., Russia hold nuclear talks in Geneva after summit push
Ukraine expects next IMF tranche after meeting conditions -president
Peru's Castillo assumes presidency amid political storms in divided nation
Canada's Trudeau to gamble on vaccinations, economic rebound in likely September snap vote

Stories You'll Enjoy