Christian militia renews attack on UN CAR base

1990

Militia fighters from Central African Republic’s (CAR) Christian minority attacked a UN base for the second consecutive night, a U.N. official said, after a week of violence that has killed six peacekeepers on the south-eastern border.

Access to the town centre of Bangassou to recover wounded and dead was impeded by fighting although 24 injured people were treated at a nearby hospital, Médecins Sans Frontières said.

Fighting in and around Bangassou, in a region on the Congolese border previously sheltered from conflict, also caused an undetermined number of civilian deaths. An attack on Monday on a UN convoy killed five peacekeepers.

Radio France International, citing a local source, said hundreds of fighters took part in the weekend attacks and killed at least 30 people. It was not immediately possibly to verify the toll.
“They fired on the camp overnight and we responded,” said Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the UN mission (MINUSCA) by telephone from Bangui. “We don’t think this is over and it is likely the assailants will return.”

In recent months, roaming militias spurred by ethnic and religious rivalries have stepped up violence despite pledges to take part in a government-led disarmament programme.

Aid workers say militias seem to be exploiting security voids after Ugandan and French soldiers left in the past few months when their missions ended.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “outraged” by attacks on the 13,000-strong mission.

Prime Minister Simplice Sarandji condemned the attacks in a statement on local radio and said those responsible would be brought to justice.

Central African Republic has been plagued by inter-religious violence since 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters seized power and ousted then-President Francois Bozize, prompting reprisal killings from anti-balaka militias from the Christian minority.