UN - Chad troops in unprovoked CAR killings

2014-04-04 20:58
Chadian troops, part of an African Union peacekeeping force, drive down a road in Bangui, Central African Republic. (Rebecca Blackwell, AP)

Chadian troops, part of an African Union peacekeeping force, drive down a road in Bangui, Central African Republic. (Rebecca Blackwell, AP)

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

Geneva - The UN on Friday accused Chadian soldiers of carrying out an unprovoked attack when they opened fire in a crowded market in Central African capital Bangui, a day after Chad said it was withdrawing its peacekeepers from the strife-torn state.

An investigation into the Saturday attack which left at least 30 dead and another 300 wounded found that the troops had "opened fire on the population without any provocation," said a spokesperson for the UN's human rights office.

"As panic-stricken people fled in all directions, the soldiers allegedly continued firing indiscriminately," the spokesperson, Rupert Colville, added.

"According to our preliminary findings, at least 30 people were killed as a result of the shooting and over 300 were seriously injured, including children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and the elderly, as these were the people least able to run for their lives."

The attack only ended when Congolese peacekeepers arrived, said Colville.

The UN's damning findings were released a day after Chad angrily said it was withdrawing its soldiers from the 6 000-strong Misca African peacekeeping force deployed in the country, because of "a wanton and malicious campaign" against its troops.

Chadian soldiers have been accused of siding with the mainly Muslim Seleka movement - which seized power through a coup in March 2013 and held it until January this year - and of condoning the abuses carried out by some of them against the population.

N'Djamena has always denied the charges.

On Friday, Bangui expressed regret at the decision made by Chad, one of the largest contributors to Misca with about 850 soldiers on the ground.

"We learnt with a lot of regret of the announcement... of the withdrawal of Chadian troops from the Misca in the Central African Republic," said Foreign Minister Toussaint Kongo-Doudou said in a statement sent to AFP.

Specially deployed

Colville said the soldiers responsible for the Saturday attack did not appear to be the peacekeepers deployed with Misca.

Instead, they are believed to have been dispatched specially from Chad to bring to safety Chadian citizens and other Muslim inhabitants who have faced repeated attacks by Christian militia known as "anti-balaka".

The militias were formed last year in response to the coup by the Seleka rebels that toppled president Francois Bozize.

A vicious cycle of attacks and counter-attacks by the Seleka and anti-balaka has sunk the impoverished country into chaos, with thousands killed and about a quarter of the country's 4.6 million people driven from their homes.

Misca, along with 2 000 troops from former colonial power France, have been struggling to restore order.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday strongly condemned the drawn-out conflict, saying he is "deeply troubled by the appalling atrocities against the civilians there."

UN investigators in Bangui had gathered evidence from survivors of the weekend attack who were being treated in two medical centres in Bangui, as well as at the market in the city's PK12 district, where Muslims have been penned in by militia attacks.

Colville said the soldiers appeared to have returned to Chad after the attack in Bangui, which lies around 450km from the Chadian border.

Read more on:    misca  |  chad  |  central african republic  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.