CAR leader condemns 'barbaric' church attack

2014-07-10 02:30
Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (File, AFP)

Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (File, AFP)

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

Bangui - Central African Republic President Catherine Samba Panza on Wednesday accused militias of "barbaric and criminal" acts after 26 civilians seeking shelter at a church were killed this week.

"These events show that enemies of peace are persisting on an evil path of violence and intercommunal hatred," Samba Panza said in a statement.

Eleven women were among the 26 killed in Monday's attack on civilians sheltered at a church in the central region of Bambari, according to a new figure released by the local Red Cross.

About 35 people were also injured when gunmen torched tents and opened fire on the shelter housing thousands of people at the St Joseph Catholic Church.

An officer with the African Union's peacekeeping force Misca said that the site had been attacked by armed men wearing military uniforms and tunics linked to the majority-Muslim Seleka rebels.

Both Seleka rebels and Christian vigilante groups have been accused of atrocities against civilians during the recent unrest, with tit-for-tat violence over the last year claiming thousands of lives and displacing about a quarter of the population.

"This cycle of reprisal attacks between armed groups in Ouaka [the region around Bambari] - where Christians and Muslims once lived in perfect harmony - is deeply worrying," Samba Panza said.

The Seleka rebel group said that they had attacked the church because they believed that members of the Christian anti-balaka militia were among those sheltering in the church.

"That is the reason why we launched an attack," said military spokesperson Ahmad Nejad.

Calling on the international community to help stem the violence, the president said civilians on both sides were paying the "price for the weaknesses of the security and armed forces," some of whom had abandoned their units to fight with the anti-balaka militia.

The latest unrest in the chronically unstable nation began in March 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition toppled the ruling regime and put Michel Djotodia - the country's first Muslim leader - in power.

Djotodia stepped down last January under strong international pressure for his failure to rein in rogue ex-rebels, who relentlessly murdered, raped and looted civilians.

In response, largely Christian communities formed "anti-balaka" (anti-machete) vigilante forces who hunted down Muslims in revenge attacks.

Despite the presence of international peacekeepers in the country, the violence has continued. On Tuesday, France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned while on a visit to the country that unless there was a ceasefire "there is no future for the Central African Republic".

A national reconciliation forum is scheduled to take place later this month, between 21 and 23 July in Brazzaville in neighbouring Congo.

Read more on:    seleka  |  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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...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.