Soldiers fire at CAR protesters

2010-11-14 21:03

Bangui - Soldiers in the Central African Republic (CAR) opened fire Sunday to disperse angry demonstrators protesting the death of a youth, wounding at least three people, witnesses said.

An AFP reporter counted three people with bullet wounds - a young woman and two men - being driven to a hospital in the capital, Bangui.

Authorities could not immediately say how many people were hurt or what had happened.

Soldiers also briefly detained at a military headquarters three local radio reporters who were covering the events. They were released two hours later without explanation after their tape recorders were confiscated.

A relative calm reigned by early afternoon in the capital where riot police had been deployed.

Witnesses said soldiers opened fire on demonstrators after police had initially tried to reason with them.

The unrest began early on Sunday when residents of a Bangui neighbourhood torched a bar and ransacked the home of a soldier they accused of having killed a young man for suspected theft, witnesses said.

The group then took to the streets in protest, setting tyres on fire, putting up barricades and calling for justice to avenge the youth's death.