Central African Republic descends into chaos

2013-10-09 18:16
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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

Bangui – At least 60 people have been killed in sectarian clashes in Central African Republic between local militias and former rebels, witnesses and a local official said on Wednesday.

The mineral-rich nation has descended into chaos since mostly Muslim Seleka rebels from the north seized the capital Bangui in March, ousting president Francois Bozize.

The new transitional government's failure to stem the violence has prompted the UN Security Council to consider intervening to restore order.

Local self-defence militias, known as "anti-balaka" or anti-machetes, attacked a Seleka position in the mining village of Gaga, around 250km northwest of Bangui, on Monday, killing four ex-rebels before attacking Muslim civilians.

The Seleka fighters retaliated against Christian civilians in the village, witnesses said. Seleka gunmen, many of them from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, have repeatedly been accused of desecrating churches and terrorising Christian communities.

"We're waiting for reinforcements in order to go there but the different accounts we've gathered from survivors coming from Gaga lead us to believe there are over 60 dead," said Judicael Kama, a gendarme in the nearby town of Yaloke.

Many of those wounded in the violence were taken to Yaloke's hospital, around 35 km from Gaga.

"Total terror"

"The Seleka fighters went door to door. It was total terror," Raymond Kitivo, who was wounded in the attack, told Reuters by telephone from the hospital in Yaloke.

The violence erupted less than a week after at least 14 people were killed in fighting between Muslims and Christians in the isolated eastern town of Bangassou, in further evidence that the clashes are becoming increasingly sectarian.

The UN officials and rights groups say both Seleka and their opponents may have committed war crimes in the past few months.

Last month French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Central African Republic risked becoming a new Somalia if it did not get immediate support. He is expected to visit Bangui on Sunday to assess the situation.

Security Council diplomats may vote on Thursday on a French-drafted resolution calling on the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit a report on possible international support for a planned African Union peacekeeping mission known as MISCA.

According to the draft, obtained by Reuters, Ban's report should include "the possible option of a transformation of MISCA into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, subject to appropriate conditions on the ground".

Former colonial power France, which intervened earlier this year to oust Islamist rebels from another of its former African colonies, Mali, has been reluctant to get directly involved in the crisis. It has urged African nations and the African Union to do their utmost to resolve the crisis among themselves.

But while the African Union plans to deploy the 3 600-strong MISCA mission, incorporating a regional force of 1 100 soldiers already there, it is unlikely to be operational before 2014.

Read more on:    un  |  seleka rebels  |  francois bozize  |  central african republic  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
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.