Results tagged “Central African Republic”
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Muslim Seleka militants attacked a Catholic church in Bangui yesterday where people were sheltering from violence; the assailants threw grenades and shot at women and children, killing at least 11 people. A priest at the church said AU peacekeepers failed to respond to urgent calls during the attack. Today Christian anti-balaka militias retaliated by sacking an empty mosque and barricading streets with burning tires. Seleka controls much of northern CAR, and is said to be creating a parallel army and police force in the region.
Seleka rebels have begun regrouping in the north and this week named Gen. Joseph Zindeko, who formerly commanded a rebel base in Bangui, as Seleka's new leader. On May 6, French forces killed several militiamen when a group of 40 armed fighters attacked a French patrol in the Nanga-Boguila region. On May 2, attackers killed 22 people, including three health workers, at a French-run hospital. Journalism in CAR is hampered by lack of basic resources, widespread intimidation, and influence by rival groups.
Chadian troops driving into Bangui to evacuate Muslims opened fire on civilians, killing at least 10 and wounding about 30. The Christian anti-balaka militia has accused Chad of siding with the Muslims and Seleka rebels in the conflict, in which thousands of Muslims and Christians have been killed. On March 27, a grenade attack on a funeral in Bangui killed 11 people and wounded 14; the attack was blamed on Seleka "extremists well known to the police." The attackers also mugged Red Cross aid workers and stole their phones.
A spokesman for the largely Christian "anti-balaka" militia that has been retaliating against Muslims said the militia will lay down its weapons only if the largely Muslim Seleka fighters are disarmed first. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently voiced grave concern over violence in the country, and warned of a "de facto" partition. The Afghan Taliban issued a statement in English condemning the killing of Muslims by Christians in the CAR. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb issued a statement blaming France for the killing of Muslims in the CAR, and urged them to retaliate by attacking French interests.