Gunmen storm national radio in Central African Republic


Unidentified gunmen stormed Central African Republic’s state-owned radio in the capital Bangui early on Tuesday in a failed attempt to force entry into the main studio, the broadcaster said.

The country descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, sparking reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militia that drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition.

Though attacks in the capital have eased in recent months and a U.N. peacekeeping mission has been deployed, sporadic violence still occurs.

An unknown number of assailants attacked the radio’s offices, which were being guarded by three gendarmes, at around 1 a.m. (0000 GMT), the station announced.
“They shattered the control board and headed for Studio A, but weren’t able to break down the door,” it said.

Having failed to enter the studio, the attackers briefly took one of the gendarmes hostage before abandoning him with a broken arm.

The attackers’ motive was not clear and authorities from the security services and the current transitional government did not immediately comment on the incident.

Central Africans are due to go to the polls on Oct. 18 to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections seen as critical to restoring democratic rule and drawing a line under the two-year inter-religious conflict.