United Nations concerned over escalation of violence in auto

Posted May 17, 2017

Militia fighters from the Central African Republic's (CAR) Christian minority attacked a United Nations base for the second consecutive night, a United Nations official said on Sunday, after a week of violence that has killed six peacekeepers at the southeastern border.

A United Nations peacekeeper was killed at the weekend, the sixth in a week, in an attack in Bangassou by the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group from auto. Some locked themselves in their homes for safety, or fled in search of sanctuary. An unknown number of people fled toward the border with Congo.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says violence is spreading through parts of Central African Republic that previously had been spared the kind of sectarian bloodshed seen in the capital.

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France is determined to continue, in collaboration with all of its European, African and worldwide partners, its efforts to ensure stability and consolidate peace in the Central African Republic.

It said the attackers were members of a wide coalition including the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group who "attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims", another sign of the continuing sectarian violence that has ravaged the country.

Then, two weeks ago, as we were on our weekly visit to the health centre of Yongofongo, some 25 kilometres from Bangassou, Central African Republic, we came across people fleeing the village.

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According to the local leader of the Red Cross, Pastor Antoine Mbao Bogo, the fighting has continued the point where the Red Cross and other aid organisations are unable to go in to help the wounded and retrieve the dead. "However credible sources have confirmed an undetermined number of civilian casualties", the statement said.

The U.N.'s intervention comes as the conflict has been reaching a climax.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday strongly condemned attacks against the civilian population and UN peacekeepers in the auto, urging authorities to investigate and bring those responsible to justice. When gunshots started in the Tokoyo neighborhood, the Muslim area of town, people scattered in all directions, running into the night to find shelter where they could, at a friend's place, in the church, in the mosque, in the grounds of the hospital. The country has been plagued by inter-religious violence since 2013.

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