Central African Republic violence 'highly worrying,' UN says

Barsaba Taglieri
Mag 17, 2017

A Senior UN Official said armed groups on Monday agreed to allow for the evacuation of some civilians from a mosque in Central African Republic's (CAR) southeastern town of Bangassou after two days of fighting. They also attacked the Muslim neighbourhood of Tokoyo where numerous civilians were killed and others wounded, although the exact death toll remains unclear. The deaths include many children, some of whom were reportedly thrown into a river by militiamen.

Reiterating support to the Central African authorities and to MINUSCA in implementing its mandate to protect civilian populations, France said it is "determined to continue, in consultation with its European, African and global partners, its efforts for the stabilization and consolidation of peace in the Central African Republic".

United Nations forces pushed the Christian anti-Balaka rebels from areas around the mosque, allowing those inside to leave for a more secure area, according to United Nations mission spokesman Herve Verhoosel.

"I remind those who commit, order, command or fail to prevent attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers and United Nations peacekeepers that they may also be subject to prosecution for war crimes", he said.

The U.N. mission noted that "deliberate attacks in Bangassou, with heavy weaponry, seem to be well-planned as the perpetrators made access very hard by destroying bridges and blocking all accessible roads to town", said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general.

MINUSCA, established in 2014 in response to the country's ongoing civil war, has deployed more than 12,000 troops to protect civilians from the repercussions of violence between Christian and Muslim sects.

The council members expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to the Kingdom of Morocco and MINUSCA, the statement said.

Prime minister Simplice Sarandji condemned the attacks.

High Commissioner Zeid said he was particularly disturbed by the increase in targeted killings of civilians since the fighting between rival groups began in November 2016.

More than 400 000 people in the former French colony are displaced internally and 2.2 million, or almost half the population, are reliant on aid.

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