10 killed in religious clashes in Central African Republic: police

2015-08-21 23:49

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Bangui - Ten people were killed and five others injured on Friday in religious clashes in the Central African Republic, police said.

A local police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the clashes in the central region of Bambari broke out following the death of a young Muslim who was "beaten by armed individuals identified as (Christian) anti-balaka militants".

He added that the murder "has sparked reprisals from young Muslims and former Seleka (Muslim rebels) in several non-Muslim neighbourhoods of the town", and said the attacks had taken place a few dozen kilometres from the town of Bambari.

"We have a provisional toll of ten dead and five injured," the official said.

Witnesses reached by telephone said that residents began shooting in a bid to regain control of the area, where several thousand people remain.

The situation on the ground remains very tense, with young Christians and Muslims "putting up barricades in some places to protect themselves from gunfire", a witness said.

The Central African Republic descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup against longtime leader Francois Bozize that unleashed a wave of violence in the former French colony, pitting Christian anti-balaka militias against Muslim Seleka rebels.

Driven from power in January 2014 following an international military intervention, the former Seleka rebel coalition had based its top commanders in Bambari, an area that has regularly been shaken by sectarian violence ever since.

Unlike the capital Bangui, which was restored to relative calm several months ago, many areas in the provinces remain lawless, stalked by armed groups and bandits.

Read more on:    central african republic  |  central africa

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