Three aid work­ers killed in CAR

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Three aid work­ers are among 22 people killed in a rebel at­tack on a clinic in north­ern Cen­tral African Repub­lic, of­fi­cials have said.

Med­i­cal char­ity Medecins Sans Fron­tieres (MSF) has con­firmed that three of its lo­cal staff were killed but has not given any fur­ther de­tails.

Fif­teen of the dead were lo­cal chiefs, ac­cord­ing to the area’s for­mer MP.

The at­tack has been blamed on the mainly Mus­lim Seleka rebels, whose 2013 seizure of power sparked the cri­sis.

They were ac­cused of nu­mer­ous at­tacks on mem­bers of the CAR’s Chris­tian ma­jor­ity and since their leader was forced to step down as pres­i­dent in Jan­uary, mili­tias have been tak­ing re­venge against the Mus­lim com­mu­nity.

On Sun­day, peace­keep­ers es­corted more than 1,200 Mus­lims out of the cap­i­tal, Ban­gui, for their own safety. They were some of the last re­main­ing Mus­lims in the city.

Af­ter they were evac­u­ated, loot­ers de­scended on the PK-12 district they had left to strip houses and businesses, and even the mosque.

“We didn’t want the Mus­lims here and we don’t want their mosque here any more ei­ther,’’ looter Guy Richard told the AP news agency.

For­mer MP Gilles Xavier Nguem­bassa told the Reuters news agency that Seleka rebels tar­geted the clinic in the north­ern town of Nanga Bogu­ila about 450 km (280 miles) north of Ban­gui, look­ing for money, as lo­cal chiefs were hold­ing a meet­ing there.

“Fif­teen of the lo­cal chiefs were killed on the spot,” he said, cit­ing wit­nesses to Satur­day’s at­tack.

The cri­sis has led to “re­li­gious cleans­ing” ac­cord­ing to hu­man rights groups, with Mus­lims flee­ing south­ern ar­eas for the north, as well as neigh­bour­ing coun­tries such as Chad and Cameroon.

Around a quar­ter of the coun­try’s 4.6 mil­lion have been forced from their homes.

There are some 6,000 African Union and 2,000 French troops in CAR but they have failed to halt the blood­shed.

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has ap­proved plans to de­ploy a force of around 12,000 but they are not ex­pected for sev­eral months.

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