Fighting In C. African Republic Kills 40: Sources

Almost 40 people have been killed in fighting between former Seleka rebels and armed vigilantes in the Central African Republic (CAR), army sources say.
Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (file photo)
Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (file photo)

Violence in the western market town of Bouar left around 40 dead and some injured on Saturday, the sources said on Tuesday.

“The fighting last Saturday between self-defense militias and ex-rebels killed almost 40 people, including at least 35 in the ranks of the militias, with several wounded,” said a source close to the army’s general staff.

The death toll had initially been announced 12 on Sunday.

The source stated that the fighting began after local militants, armed with military weapons and machetes, encircled the town, located about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of the capital Bangui.
A different army source said the death toll could “rise further in light of the intensity of the fighting that followed the attack on the ex-Seleka base and on the Bouar aerodrome by the self-defense militia.”


An injured former rebel colonel said the local militants attacked them “with RPG 7 (rocket launchers) and Kalashnikov (assault rifles), as well as home-made rifles.”

On September 13, CAR President Michel Djotodia dissolved the Seleka rebel coalition, which had brought him to power. Some of the rebels later joined the country’s regular army while some defied.

The Seleka rebels, who launched an offensive against the CAR government in December 2012 and finally ousted then President Francois Bozizé in March, have been accused of killing, looting, and raping across the country.

A recent UN report blamed the Seleka fighters for much of the chaos in the country, saying, “uncontrolled Seleka elements and unidentified armed groups” in the country committed “arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual violence against women and children, torture, rape, targeted killings, recruitment of child soldiers and attacks.”

In July, the International Federation for Human Rights said at least 400 murders by Seleka-affiliated groups had been documented since March.

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.

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