Give our army guns to stop violence, say CAR MPs

2015-11-05 09:51


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Bangui - Scores of parliamentarians wearing black joined marchers Wednesday in the strife-hit Central African Republic (CAR) to demand weapons for the country's army to stop mounting sectarian violence.

In black to symbolise mourning, a large crowd walked several kilometres from parliament to a square in the capital Bangui, singing the country's national anthem, "The Renaissance" before handing foreign diplomats their demands.

"We want the government to take concrete action," said Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, who heads the transitional parliament. "It's up to the government and the international community" to allow the rearmament "of our defence and security forces within a week."

Dozens of people have been killed in past weeks and scores of homes torched and looted in a recent flare-up of sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims.

A visit by Pope Francis later this month remains on the cards, the Vatican said this week, but the trip will have to be cancelled if fighting in the capital intensifies.

One in 10 Central Africans – 460 000 people - have fled the country since the start of violence in 2013, triggered by the ouster of then president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.

The army has been largely ineffective since, with security in the hands of a 10 000-strong MINUSCA force of French and UN peacekeepers.

Interim president Catherine Samba-Panza earlier this week urged the peacekeepers to take "vigorous action" to stop mounting unrest.

But residents of Bangui complain that international troops are not doing enough to stop the violence.

Read more on:    central african republic  |  central africa

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