Fresh fight­ing in CAR kills seven

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

BAN­GUI: At least seven peo­ple were killed when fresh fight­ing erupted yes­ter­day be­tween Mus­lim rebels and Chris­tian vig­i­lante groups in the Cen­tral African Repub­lic (CAR) cap­i­tal of Ban­gui, de­spite the pres­ence of French and African sol­diers.

About five other peo­ple were in­jured, wit­nesses re­ported.

Hun­dreds of res­i­dents marched through Ban­gui’s Gobongo neigh­bour­hood yes­ter­day to protest against civil­ian killings.

“In­terim Pres­i­dent Michel Djo­to­dia and his Seleka rebels must go,” ban­ners read.

Late on Thurs­day, at least 15 civil­ians – most of them Chris­tians – were killed in sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence in Gobongo, said the pres­i­dent of the Red Cross in CAR, An­toine Mbao Bogo.

US am­bas­sador to the UN Sa­man­tha Power, who paid a sur­prise visit to CAR on Thurs­day, told jour­nal­ists she had urged the gov­ern­ment to “find the per­pe­tra­tors of the vi­o­lence and bring them be­fore the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court.”

Ear­lier this week, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional warned that clashes this month had al­ready claimed in ex­cess of 1 000 lives, more than three times what had been pre­vi­ously re­ported.

France has sent 1 600 troops to CAR, which has been plunged into cri­sis since the Is­lamist Seleka coali­tion rose up against the gov­ern­ment in De­cem­ber last year and over­threw pres­i­dent François Boz­izé, a Chris­tian, in March.

Djo­to­dia has been strug­gling to re­store law and or­der in the coun­try, de­spite the sup­port of more than 3 500 AU peace­keep­ers.

About 400 000 of CAR’s 4.5 mil­lion peo­ple have been dis­placed and scores of civil­ians killed. – Sapa-dpa

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