Violence continued to plague the Central African capital of Bangui Monday, despite last week’s inauguration of President Catherine Samba-Panza, forcing scores of civilians to flee across the Oubangui River to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While witnesses said heavy fire had been exchanged at the Camp Kasai military camp where former Seleka rebels had been stationed, the United Nations warned the security situation in the troubled nation was deteriorating even further.
UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay on Monday called upon the international community to strengthen peacekeeping efforts. “Many lives are at stake," she said, adding that "Muslim civilians are now extremely vulnerable. “
Since the country's first Muslim leader Michel Djotodia resigned earlier this month, there have been widespread reports of reprisal attacks on Muslim civilians, and the violence is escalating.
Reporting from the border in Zongo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, FRANCE 24 spoke to 14-year-old student Corine, who is among the 6,000 Bangui residents who have so far crossed into the northern DRC.
“We are scared,” she said. “Last night there were several clashes. People were shooting at each other. It was impossible to sleep. From morning to night it’s like that.”
Just a few hours earlier, Augustin, 27, told FRANCE 24 about how he was on his way to the market to sell his belongings when members of the ex Seleka stopped him and beat him before he could make it over the river.
“They tied up my hands before they started beating me with knives and weapons,” he said.
“They left me to die. One of them cut my ear off. “
Almost one million people, or a quarter of the population, have been displaced by fighting since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel movement seized power in the majority Christian country last March, unleashing a wave of killing and looting.
Date created : 2014-01-27