UN: Armed rebels in Central African Republic city agree to leave

2017-05-15 19:57
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Bangui - Hundreds of armed rebels have agreed to withdraw from Central African Republic's city of Bangassou which they attacked over the weekend, killing a peacekeeper at a nearby U.N. base and displacing hundreds, the United Nations said on Monday.

Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui led negotiations with the Christian rebels to stop the violence.

By midday on Monday, the UN mission in Central African Republic said "assailants have agreed to leave the city." It was unclear if they had begun to retreat.

A Moroccan peacekeeper was killed in Saturday's attack by some 700 anti-Balaka rebels who targeted Bangassou's Muslim district of Tokoyo and the UN base.

Many residents said they locked themselves in their homes as the anti-Balaka forces controlled the city.

More than 1 000 residents had taken refuge in a mosque, some 1 500 others in a cathedral and 500 others in a hospital, humanitarian agencies said.

Doctors Without Borders said at least 21 people were wounded but access to the area is needed to determine the full toll.

Peacekeepers reported sporadic gunfire late on Sunday, but on Monday the situation had calmed, according to UN mission spokesman Herve Verhoosel.

Before the cessation of violence, "armed men proceeded to destroy all of the bridges in Bangassou and had occupied the roads," he said.

Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera on Sunday condemned the violence and reassured citizens that "Central African Republic will never be left in the hands of these sowers of death."

Touadera called on the leaders of the armed groups to "stop this blind and unjustified violence," warning that justice will be sought.

Fighting in the eastern region of Central African Republic has mounted in recent months.

Five UN peacekeepers were killed in May 8 attacks near Bangassou. Clashes from May 6-7 in Alindao between sectarian rebel groups killed at least 37 people, according to the Red Cross.

Central African Republic descended into sectarian conflict in 2013. Violence continues in remote areas outside government control.


Read more on:    un  |  central african republic  |  central africa

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