Death toll in CAR clashes rises to almost 40

2013-10-29 15:57

(Shutterstock)

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

Bangui – At least 40 people were killed in weekend fighting between armed vigilantes and former rebels near Bouar in western Central African Republic, the army said on Tuesday, issuing a new toll.

"The fighting last Saturday between self-defence militias and ex-rebels killed almost 40 people, including at least 35 in the ranks of the militias, with several wounded," a source close to the general staff said.

A previous toll on Sunday said 12 people were killed.

Early on Saturday, hundreds of local militias armed with military weapons and machetes encircled Bouar, a town about 400km northwest of the capital Bangui on Saturday morning, the source said.

The militiamen were confronted by ex-rebels of the Seleka alliance, which has been disbanded by President Michel Djotodia since they brought him to power after ousting his predecessor, Francois Bozize, in March.

Bouar lies in a region of the highly unstable and very poor landlocked nation where people were considered loyal to Bozize, who himself seized power in a coup in 2003 and was twice re-elected into office.

The militiamen "attacked us with RPG 7 [rocket launchers] and Kalashnikov [assault rifles], as well as home-made rifles", a wounded former rebel colonel, Al Goni Moussa, said after his transfer to Bangui.

Intensity of the fighting

"The fighting lasted for more than two hours. We drove back the anti-balakas [militias]. Their leader, Francois alias 'Bokassa', was killed. His brother and his son were also killed," Moussa said.

The death toll could "rise further, in light of the intensity of the fighting that followed the attack on the ex-Seleka base and on the Bouar aerodrome by the self-defence militia," an army source said.

"This is really a rebellion taking shape," said a source in the president's office who asked not to be named. "Those who are behind this rebellion have also claimed responsibility for the attacks on Bossangoa and Bouca" in the northwest," he added.

Early in September, attacks by hitherto unknown militia forces that emerged to protect the population from local warlords killed almost 100 people in the Bossangoa region.

Atrocities blamed on Seleka forces - whom the regime is integrating into the regular armed forces - have led to communal violence, sparking fears that clashes may take a religious turn, pitting Muslims against Christians, who make up about 80% of the population of about 4.5 million.

Most of the fighters in the movements that formed the Seleka alliance profess the Islamic faith and Djotodia, who was sworn in on 18 August to oversee a transition back to democracy, is the country's first Muslim head of state.

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.