Peacekeepers go door-to-door to disarm CAR militia

2014-02-15 23:01
People walk on a road lit by AU-led Misca vehicles during an operation in the CARs’ capital, Bangui. (Fred Dufour , AFP)

People walk on a road lit by AU-led Misca vehicles during an operation in the CARs’ capital, Bangui. (Fred Dufour , AFP)

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

Bangui - International peacekeepers went door-to-door in the Central African Republic capital Bangui on Saturday seizing weapons from militia accused of committing atrocities against the country's Muslim minority.

The unprecedented operation by about 250 peacekeepers and police in Bangui's Boy Rabe neighbourhood, the base of the mostly Christian militias whose attacks have driven many Muslims from the city in recent weeks, lasted about four hours.

Automatic weapons, grenades and a large amount of munitions were seized and "more than a dozen" people were detained, according to Ghislain Gresenguet, the attorney general.

"All people who were found to have weapons in their homes have been identified and will be handed over to the police," a peacekeeper from the African Union Misca mission told AFP.

The so-called "anti-balaka" militias were formed in the majority Christian country in response to killing and pillaging by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels after they toppled president Francois Bozize in a March 2013 coup.

Anti-balaka means "anti-machete" in the local Sango language and refers to the weapon of choice wielded by the Seleka.

In recent months, as international peacekeepers deployed to the former French colony have disarmed the Seleka, brutal attacks by the militias have sowed terror among the Muslim population.

Interim president Catherine Sampa Panza, herself a Christian, last Wednesday declared "war" against the anti-balaka, whose attacks have sparked warnings of "ethnic cleansing".

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday that ending the sectarian strife could take longer than expected.

"I think it will be longer than planned because the degree of hatred and violence is worse than we imagined," Le Drian told French radio.

The landlocked country has been prone to coups, rebellions and mutinies for decades, but the explosion in inter-religious violence is unprecedented.

France and the European Union pledged a sharp increase in the number of troops deployed in the Central African Republic on Friday, as concern mounted over a horrific spiral of violence across the country.

France's force will eventually total about 2 000.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that Berlin wanted to bolster its military cooperation with France, particularly in Africa.

"More convergence is possible", notably in terms of working together in Mali or the Central African Republic, the chancellor added.

'Big fish' got away

Among those detained Saturday was lieutenant Herve Ganazoui, "in charge of 'anti-balaka leadership' operations", Emotion Brice Namsi, a militia spokesperson, told AFP.

But the soldiers failed to capture a senior militia leader, Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, who casts himself as the anti-balaka political co-ordinator.

Fifteen minutes after surrounding his house, grenade explosions and gunfire could be heard, and a military source said that African peacekeepers had fired into the air in response to "aggression" by those inside - who did not include Ngaissona.

He said later: "They didn't manage to take me, I was out."

Grezenguet said Ngaissona was "the big fish who had to be detained".

Peacekeepers left the neighbourhood to jeers from residents.

Also on Saturday, the opposition Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People repeated an allegation that former president Bozize was supporting the anti-balaka "financially and materially".

Amnesty International this week warned that violence in the Central African Republic has grown into an "ethnic cleansing" campaign, while the UN refugee agency has described the situation as "a humanitarian catastrophe of unspeakable proportions".

Read more on:    central african republic  |  central africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! 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

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...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.