19 killed in clashes between UN and militia in CAR capital

The Central African Republic, one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries, was rocked on Wednesday after 19 people, including a UN soldier, were killed and more than 100 wounded in clashes between peacekeepers and militias in a flashpoint Muslim enclave of the capital.
Bangui’s bloodiest flareup in two years brought hundreds of angry residents of the PK5 district to the base of the United Nations mission, MINUSCA.
There, they laid out the corpses of 17 men who they said had been killed by UN troops on Tuesday – violence that according to MINUSCA had begun with an ambush of peacekeepers after they had launched a security sweep.
Several bodies bore bullet wounds, an AFP reporter saw.
“Yesterday they killed lots of people. Here are the dead, which we have brought here,” one man told AFP, as the bodies, draped in white, were laid before the closed door of the mission.
Several UN armoured vehicles were stationed around the MINUSCA base.
A security source late on Tuesday said a UN soldier was killed and eight were wounded in the violence, which came when their patrol was ambushed on the outskirts of the neighbourhood.
Fifty-six wounded people were brought to the Bangui public hospital, one of whom subsequently died, according to staff there. Separately, the aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it treated 44 wounded.
“A Rwandan patrol supported by Central African forces was shot at and then pursued the attackers into PK5,” the security source told AFP.
The clashes marked the bloodiest incident in Bangui since President Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected in 2016 – an event showcased as a turning-point in one of the world’s most chronically unstable countries.
“When President Touadera was on the campaign trail, he promised us that he would not touch a hair on a Muslim’s head if we voted for him, which we did. Now you can see the results,” said one of the demonstrators, who gave his name as Riyad.
The former French colony of 4.5 million people spiralled into bloodshed after longtime leader Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013 by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance.
France intervened militarily to push out the Seleka alliance, but the country – one of the poorest in the world – remains plagued by violence between ex-rebels and vigilante militias.
Many armed groups are nominally organised along Christian or Muslim affiliations.
They both typically gain their revenue from extortion, roadblocks or mineral resources.

Check Also

Iran’s Raisi downplays protests in visit to flashpoint Kurdish city 

President Ebrahim Raisi made no reference to the killings of the protesters in the government …