Another Round Of Clashes Kills 43 In C.A.R

car violenceAnother round of clashes has erupted in the capital city of the Central African Republic Bangui leaving 43 people dead in four days, this was reported by the country’s Red Cross society.

The violence in Bangui had also left 71 wounded, the country’s Red Cross also stated.

There have been widespread reports of revenge attacks as mainly Muslim fighters withdraw from the city.

The violence has continued even though a new leader was inaugurated earlier this month as part of regional efforts to bring peace after months of anarchy.

France, the former colonial power, has 1,600 troops in CAR, working with some 4,000 from African countries to help end the violence which has seen about a million people – 20% of the population – flee their homes.

 

But earlier this week, the UN said it believed at least 10,000 troops may be required in any force sent to end the unrest, which began when Seleka rebels overthrew the president last March.

Anti-balaka militia – who say they are defending Christians – are hunting Muslims “because they are Muslims, not because they accuse them of having collaborated with Seleka fighters any more”, a French diplomat told me. Bangui may soon be emptied of its entire Muslim community and “there would be no military capacity to prevent that”.

When fighters were confined to barracks there was no cash to set up a disarmament programme, several diplomats have confirmed, and now is the time to pick up the bill as Seleka forces, who were escorted out of Bangui, are regrouping north of the capital. It remains unclear whether they intend to fight back.

France is pushing for a UN peacekeeping mission while the African Union wants money to boost its force on the ground. African soldiers will probably wear blue helmets by the end of the year. But as diplomats discuss the colour of their berets, both the French forces – accused of not doing enough to protect Muslims – and African soldiers are overstretched. The situation has become worse and they simply cannot cover CAR’s vast territory.

What started out as a conflict fuelled by ethnic rivalries has become religious in nature, with the emergence of Christian “anti-balaka” militias taking on the former rebels. Both sides have been accused of targeting civilians.

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