100 Killed in CAR Fighting

100 Killed in CAR Fighting100 Killed in CAR Fighting

As many as 100 people were killed last week in militia violence in southern Central African Republic, the United Nations said, expressing “grave alarm” over the spread of fighting fuelled by ethnic and religious rivalries.

Among the victims were six UN peacekeepers, marking the deadliest month for the UN mission MINUSCA since it began in 2014, Aljazeera reported.

The violence represents a new escalation in a conflict that began in 2013 when Seleka fighters seized power and ousted then-president Francois Bozize, prompting reprisal killings from Christian anti-Balaka militias.

The UN high commissioner for human rights warned on Tuesday the violence in areas previously spared major bloodshed was “highly worrying”.

“The hard-earned relative calm in [the capital] Bangui and some of the bigger towns in CAR risks being eclipsed by the descent of some rural areas into increasing sectarian violence, with defenseless civilians-as usual-paying the highest price,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said.

“Clashes intensified on Monday in the town of Bria, about 300 km from the southeastern border town of Bangassou, forcing about 1,000 civilians to seek shelter near the UN base,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said on Tuesday.

“Medecins Sans Frontieres’ [MSF] hospital in Bria received 24 wounded people early on Tuesday as fighting continued,” Frederic Lai Manantsoa, MSF’s head of mission in the capital Bangui, said.

The UN peacekeeper mission said the situation in the border town of Bangassou was “under control” after an attack by Christian militiamen at the weekend killed nearly 30 people and forced thousands to flee.

In a statement, Dujarric said unverifiable figures indicate up to 100 people may have been killed in three days of clashes from May 7-9 in the town of Alindao between anti-Balaka fighters and an ex-Seleka group.

Up to 8,500 people were displaced in the fighting, he said, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs plans to lead an inter-agency fact-finding mission there.

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