CAR rebels seize town north of Bangui

2014-01-31 08:49
File: AP

File: AP

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

Bangui - Fighters from the Central African Republic's Seleka rebel group violently seized a town north of the capital Bangui on Thursday, sending terrorised civilians fleeing, according to military and diplomatic sources.

A paramilitary police source told AFP a convoy of about 50 vehicles loaded with Seleka fighters surrounded Sibut on Wednesday night, committing atrocities against the population of the town about 180km north of Bangui.

The mostly Muslim fighters, reported to have been speaking only in Arabic, took full control of the town on Thursday.

A diplomatic source said the fighters, involved in weeks of horrific violence between Muslims and the Christian majority, were "regrouping" in the town.

It was not clear where the Seleka fighters had come from, but it was unlikely to be from Bangui, where the presence of the convoy would have been detected along the main road by French and African troops stationed in the capital.

France has a 1 600-strong peacekeeping force in its former colony, but none in Sibut. And a contingent of Gabonese troops from the African Union-led peacekeeping mission MISCA has withdrawn from the town, both sources said.

"The MISCA contingent drew back," said the diplomatic source.

"It’s scary"

However, a source at the mission said it was "aware of nothing" to do with the attack.

The paramilitary police source said the rebel convoy was headed by Mamadou Rakis, former deputy police chief under Michel Djotodia, the Seleka leader who installed himself as president in a March 2013 coup.

Djotodia was pressured to resign after failing to rein in violence by his former fighters, which led to the emergence of Christian vigilante groups known as "anti-balaka" (anti-machete) who carried out retaliatory attacks against Muslims.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned on Thursday that the situation was being repeated in other cities throughout the Central African Republic.

It said there were reports of clashes between Seleka and anti-Balaka fighters.

The fighting has caused even more people to flee their homes.

MSF said the northwest town of Bocaranga was deserted after residents fled.

The organisation's emergency co-ordinator Delphine Chedorge said Bocaranga was a "ghost town, empty, destroyed, looted. It's scary," she said.

In Bangui, French soldiers patrolled the streets and threatened to "use force" against a crowd of looters who wanted to take property belonging to Muslims in the Yangato neighbourhood, close to the airport.

Cycle of religious killings

Speaking into a megaphone, one French soldier told gathering crowds: "Disperse or we will use force against you."

The resulting cycle of religious killings has stunned the international community, and new interim leaders have yet to bring it under control.

Faced with the ongoing violence, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday made a passionate plea on a visit to Germany for more peacekeepers to be sent to the Central African Republic to stem the bloodshed.

"I would really hope that the international community takes decisive and prompt action," said Ban in Berlin.

"There are mass atrocities, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions and arrests, sexual violence and the drafting of children for military purposes, so this is a very dangerous situation."

However, he praised a decision by the European Union to send in 500 troops to join the French force and 5 500 MISCA soldiers.

NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! 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

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...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.