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
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 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. 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

It is hard to keep some sort of balance when the natural rhythm has flown out the window. The best thing to do is try not to keep...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.