January 19, 2014
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says at least 50 people have been killed in a fresh wave of sectarian violence in the northwest of the Central African Republic (CAR) over the weekend.
“In the past 48 hours, teams from the ICRC and the CRCA (local branch of the Red Cross) have buried around 50 bodies,” AFP quoted the ICRC as saying in a statement issued on Sunday.
On Saturday, the humanitarian group Save the Children said that militants killed 22 Muslims, including three children, and injured several others in the African country on Friday.
The militants launched grenades and used machetes against Muslim civilians being evacuated in a truck convoy in the town of Bouar, in the country’s northwest, the group said.
The group also said that at least 23 people, including children, were injured in the attack on the convoy that was carrying mostly Muslim families from the village of Vakap to neighboring Cameroon.
The Central African Republic spiraled into chaos in March 2013 when Seleka fighters overthrew President Francois Bozizé and brought Michel Djotodia to power. Bozizé fled the country after his ouster.
On September 13, 2013, Djotodia dissolved the Seleka coalition. Some of the rebels later joined the country’s regular army while some defied.
Djotodia and former Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye resigned on January 10 due to intense pressure over the government’s failure to contain unprecedented levels of violence in the country.
According to reports, more than 1,000 people were killed in last December alone. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says nearly one million people have been displaced due to the violence.
France invaded its former colony on December 5, 2013, after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution giving the African Union and France the go-ahead to send troops to the country.
France has deployed 1,600 troops in the country, but the UN-backed intervention force, which includes about 4,000 African Union peacekeepers, is struggling to restore security in the African Republic.
Paris claims the aim of the mission is to create stability in the country in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach violence-hit areas.
There are many mineral resources, including gold and diamond, in the Central African Republic. However, the country is extremely poor and has faced a series of rebellions and coups since it gained independence in 1960.