CAR fighters flee after surrendering

2014-02-03 10:58
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Bangui – At least 200 fighters in the strife-torn Central African Republic who surrendered to African Union troops at the weekend in a key northern town have fled, a military source said Sunday.

"Unfortunately they fled in the night. They've gone to Kaga Bandoro," an officer in the AU force known as MISCA told AFP.

Kaga Bandoro is about 160km north of Sibut, the town that former members of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebellion seized last week - causing terrified residents to flee - before MISCA troops recaptured it on Saturday.

It is thought the ex-rebels fled because of fear of revenge attacks by members of Christian militia known as "anti-balaka" (anti-machete), in a cycle of violence that has raged nearly unabated in the volatile country for 10 months.

The former French colony descended into chaos last March when the Seleka overthrew the government and installed one of their leaders, Michel Djotodia, as the country's first Muslim president.

Around 80 percent of the population is Christian, but it has a significant Muslim minority who live mainly in the north.

Djotodia failed to control his fighters, who began targeting Christians, prompting revenge attacks on Muslims amid reports of murder, mutilation, rape and looting by both sides.

By the time Djotodia was effectively ousted by regional leaders on 10 January for his failure to end the spiralling bloodshed, about a million people were displaced in a population of 4.6 million.

Violence has persisted despite the election of transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza last month with a mandate to pacify a country whose central government has always struggled to assert its authority beyond the capital.

Fighting has in fact escalated recently, even in Bangui, with Red Cross officials saying on Friday that they had collected 30 bodies after clashes in the capital that also left 60 people wounded.

In Sibut, the former rebels had initially agreed to be held by the African peacekeepers - a Gabonese contingent that entered the town on Saturday.

'We want secure camps'

But Colonel Abdelkader Djelani, a Seleka officer who was among those who fled Sibut, said security was a key issue for them, asserting that anti-balaka fighters had attacked Seleka members confined to camps in Bangui.

"We want solutions and really secure camps," Djelani said.

A Sibut resident told AFP by telephone that most residents who fled had returned home by late afternoon Sunday.

The African soldiers occupied most of Sibut's strategic locations, he said, while a MISCA officer said they had encountered no resistance as they went about securing the town.

Meanwhile the anti-balaka have begun handing in their weapons to MISCA, the officer said.

The taking of the northern town was the latest challenge faced by peacekeepers struggling to maintain order in a country the size of France with a long history of coups, attempted coups and army mutinies.

MISCA is supported by a French contingent of around 1 600 troops, and the European Union has committed a further 500 troops.

However, Samba-Panza has said more troops are needed to deal with the lawless interior, where few or no foreign troops are present.

The capture of Sibut came on the same day that MISCA received pledges of $132m from other African states.

A total of almost $315m has now been raised or pledged for the country, though AU officials said MISCA needs €304m just to keep going for one year.

Samba-Panza on Friday accused the former rebels of aiming to "destabilise her mandate" at a time when the government was calling for tolerance and national reconciliation.

The violence has created a humanitarian crisis, and the UN World Food Programme said in Geneva it urgently needed $95m to provide food assistance.

Read more on:    un  |  au  |  seleka rebels  |  catherine samba-panza  |  central african republic  |  central africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Stellenbosch - 18:16 PM
    Road name: R44 Southbound
    DELAYS between the R310 Adam Tas Street and Paradyskloof Road
  • Thursday Milnerton - 17:45 PM
    Road name: Marine Drive Northbound
    DELAYS between Boundary Road and Blaauwberg Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E6

Nokia E6 has 8-megapixel digital camera with autofocus and built...

From R2599.69

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you may...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.