Militia chief among 4 killed in CAR flareup

2017-02-08 13:40
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Bangui - A militia chief and two of his henchmen were shot dead in clashes in Bangui, Central African Republic's capital, sparking a backlash in which a pastor was also killed, police said Wednesday.

The incident, which took place on Tuesday, erupted in the flashpoint PK5 neighbourhood as security forces backed by UN peacekeepers went in to question the leader of an armed group, known as "Big Man".

"Big Man and his entourage resisted. An exchange of fire erupted and the leader was neutralised along with two of his men," a police source told AFP.

Sporadic gunfire continued until nightfall, with militia members retaliating to the arrest operation by surrounding a local apostolic church and killing the pastor, the source said.

PK5, once a Muslim rebel bastion, is now home to several armed groups that have taken advantage of the weakness of the state since the end of a sectarian conflict pitting mainly Muslim against Christian militias.

Even though relative peace has returned following the civil war that erupted in 2013, inter-communal tensions remain.

As the church pastor tried to urge worshippers to leave, he was attacked and stabbed to death, a family member told AFP.

The information was confirmed by a local peace activist, who identified him as Jean-Paul Sankagui, a former government adviser.

"Jean-Paul Sankagui, pastor of my church in PK5, was killed and the church was torched," Lazare Ndjadder told AFP.

One of the world's poorest countries, Central African Republic was plunged into civil war in 2013 following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka militia.

The main culprits in the violence were factions from the Seleka force, and the Christian "anti-Balaka" (anti-machete) militias.

Read more on:    central african republic  |  central africa

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