MSF condemns CAF 'atrocities'

2013-09-11 23:17
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Bangui - Armed groups in the Central African Republic have committed "atrocities" against civilians in a new wave of fighting sweeping the unstable country's west, the charity Doctors Without Borders said on Wednesday.

Rival fighters loyal to the current government and those loyal to ousted president Francois Bozize killed an undetermined number of people, carried out summary executions and burnt down civilians' houses during fighting on Monday in the village of Bouca, said Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The humanitarian group said it had treated 26 people for machete and gunshot wounds, including eight women and six children, after Bozize supporters attacked the village.

"MSF is deeply concerned by the targeting of the civilian population and the atrocities committed by both parties in Bouca," said MSF.

The raid was part of an eruption of violence that has hit Bouca and three nearby villages in the past month, it said.

"This new wave of violence... is causing even more suffering for civilians already coping with months of conflict and repeatedly being forced from their homes," it said.

The warning came as President Michel Djotodia's office said almost 100 people had been killed in two days of fighting that erupted Sunday near the village of Bossangoa, some 250km north of the capital, Bangui.

The death toll was an increase from a previous estimate of 60.

The area is the home region of ousted president Bozize, who ruled the troubled nation for 10 years until he was overthrown on 24 March by current Djotodia's Seleka rebel group.

Djotodia's office has accused Bozize's supporters of attacking Muslims. The new president is the predominantly Christian country's first Muslim leader.

MSF said it was "extremely worried about the consequences of the use of inflammatory sectarian rhetoric which began during the Seleka rebellion in March, that could fuel further violence."

The latest fighting has worsened the country's humanitarian and security situation, already chaotic since the rebellion by Seleka, whose fighters are accused of looting and violence against civilians.

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