Renewed fighting leaves 11 dead, 14 missing in CAR capital

Renewed fighting leaves 11 dead, 14 missing in CAR capital

Violent clashes have left eleven people dead in the Central African Republic’s (CAR) capital, Bangui, over the past days following the assassination of an army commander.

“At this stage we think (the victims) are all civilians,” said Herve Verhoosel, the spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) in the CAR, on Thursday.

“Fourteen people are still missing and another 14 were wounded,” he said.

Fighting erupted on Tuesday after Army Commander Marcel Mombeka, a former aide to the ex-president, Catherine Samba-Panza, was shot dead by an unidentified sniper while he was passing through Bangui’s PK5 neighborhood.

The UN mission in the CAR condemned the assassination, saying it would give assistance to the African state’s security forces to carry out an investigation into the attack.

Public Security Minister Jean Serge Bokassa also denounced the Tuesday attack, adding that it was aimed at destabilizing the country which was believed to be in a recovery stage after a bout of violence and insecurity. He added that those behind that assassination “will not go unpunished.”

This image shows a United Nations peacekeeper standing near a line of voters outside a polling station for presidential election in the Muslim district of PK5 in Bangui, the Central African Republic, February 14, 2016. (By AFP)

Verhoosel further said on Thursday that another spate of violence had killed “at least six civilians in a north-western province last week, where unidentified assailants fired on UN peacekeepers, injuring one of them.”

The latest wave of unrest comes following several months of peace and stability after the March 2016 presidential elections, which were widely regarded as a step forward in fostering reconciliation between rival militias.

The African country plunged into turmoil in 2013, when anti-balaka militia began coordinated attacks against the Seleka group, which had toppled the government earlier that year.

Fighting between rival militias left thousands of people dead, while thousands more left their homes to seek safety and asylum in neighboring countries.

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