RE POSTED FROM PRESSTV
20 killed, 100 injured in CAR ethnic violence
Violent ethnic clashes in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), Bangui, have left more than 20 people dead and around 100 others injured.
A military doctor speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said on Sunday that the number of casualties is “still provisional,” adding that rescuers would take advantage of a lull in the violence to look for more victims.
Earlier, the toll was said to be 10 people dead and 38 wounded in the violence, which started on Saturday.
Reports said sporadic gunfire was heard overnight while the residents who had fled their homes on Saturday were beginning to return Sunday morning. The Saturday violence was sparked by the murder of a motorcycle-taxi driver in the Muslim-majority PK-5 neighborhood of Bangui.
The motive behind the killing of the Muslim man, whose body was found dumped in a street close to the airport, is unknown.
The country’s transitional government condemned the violence and announced that “Central Africa in general and the city of Bangui in particular yearns for peace and security.”
The neighborhood was the epicenter of unprecedented clashes between Christians and Muslims in Bangui in late 2013 and early 2014.
Violence first erupted in the CAR in 2013 following a coup that ousted President Francois Bozize. The coup pushed the country into an ethnic conflict between the Christian and Muslim populations. The largely Christian “anti-balaka” militias were formed to avenge what they called atrocities by the members of the Seleka group, who had been behind the coup, resulting in waves of killing, rape, and pillaging ever since.
Around 2.7 million people, more than half the population, are still in need of aid, while 1.5 million people are facing food insecurity.
In an attempt to restore peace and stability to the former French colony, in August 2014, a transitional government headed by Catherine Samba Panza was formed. It included members from different political parties and ethnic groups.
Though the level of violence has fallen significantly since last year, the country still has high crime rates fueled in part by easy access to weapons left over from the sectarian conflict.
Presidential and parliamentary elections in the country are scheduled for next month