Gunmen attack Muslims fleeing CAR, kill 22, 3 kids

2014-01-20 12:48
A man poses next to his house burned by ex-Seleka in Bogoura, some 60km north of Bangui. (Eric Feferberg, AFP)

A man poses next to his house burned by ex-Seleka in Bogoura, some 60km north of Bangui. (Eric Feferberg, AFP)

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

kalahari.com

Bangui - Attackers armed with machetes and clubs ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing sectarian violence in Central African Republic, killing 22 people, an aid group said on Sunday as the country in a state of bloody anarchy awaits a new interim president.

More than 1 000 people have been killed since violence exploded a month ago, and nearly one million people have fled their homes. The rebel leader-turned-president stepped down about a week ago amid mounting criticism of his inability to stem bloodshed some warn could explode into genocide.

On Monday, members of the National Transitional Council are to select a new interim president tasked with leading the country toward democratic elections before the end of 2014. The field, though, was visibly narrowed by the requirement that candidates could not have taken part in a rebellion or armed group over the last 20 years.

Among eight candidates selected from an initial field of 24 are two sons of former presidents: Sylvain Patasse, whose father was the country's only democratically elected leader and governed from 1993 to 2003; and Desire Zanga-Kolingba, whose father took power in a coup and ruled from 1981 to 1993. The current mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza, is also in the running as is a second female candidate, Regina Konzi-Mongo.

Even as the country moved toward restoring a central government, reports of brutal violence outside the capital continued. Tens of thousands of African migrant workers and their families, mostly Muslims, have tried to flee Central African Republic amid the sectarian clashes. On Sunday, Save the Children said 22 people had been killed, including three children, while trying to escape.

Spokesman Mike McCusker said doctors described gory scenes and harrowing accounts after gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade to halt a convoy of Muslim refugees and then attacked them with firearms, machetes and clubs.

"Our doctor said there was blood everywhere, just pouring out of people like tap water," McCusker told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Brutal attack

Friday's attack took place in the remote northwest of the country outside the town of Bouar. Nearly the entire population of Bouar, about 40 000 people, is taking refuge in mosques and churches, he said.

"An incident of this magnitude has only come to the forefront because of our internal contacts at the hospital," McCusker said. "Maybe a lot of these stories are not being reported."

The brutal attack near Bouar underscores how African and French peacekeepers are not reaching remote areas where violence goes unreported, said the British charity's country director Robert Lankenau.

Former coloniser France sent 1 600 troops last month in an effort to help secure the country until an African-led mission was at full strength. The African peacekeeping mission has about 4 400 troops, though about 3 200 of those are in the capital, Bangui.

Rebel leader Michel Djotodia united thousands of armed fighters last March in a bid to overthrow longtime president Francois Bozize. Djotodia's inability to control the rebels in the aftermath ultimately led to his demise, as the fighters began pillaging homes and killing civilians. Over time, resentment grew in the predominantly Christian country toward the rebels, most minority Muslims from the distant north.

The conflict took on a sectarian overtone in a country where Muslims and Christians have lived together for generations, and a Christian militia opposed to Djotodia's government launched an attempted coup in early December. In the days that followed, angry Christian youths set mosques on fire and mobs stoned to death people suspected of supporting Djotodia.

The international community has hopes that his departure will clear the road to peace, though tensions over who will replace him could spark further unrest.

- AP
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 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Joostenberg Vlakte 10:54 AM
Road name: N1 Outbound

OVERTURNED VEHICLE in the right lane near the Engen One Stop - DELAYS

Paarden Eiland 10:34 AM
Road name: Marine Drive

TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Neptune Street - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...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.