30 civilians killed by militants in Bangassou town, auto

Lucy Bush
May 16, 2017

Armed groups launched a deadly assault on the Central African Republic border town of Bangassou over the weekend, United Nations officials and aid groups said Sunday.

More than 1,000 residents had fled their homes and had taken refuge in a mosque; some 1,500 others in a cathedral; and 500 others in a hospital, humanitarian agencies said. However credible sources have confirmed an undetermined number of civilian casualties, MINUSCA said.

CAR Prime Minister Simplice Sarandji also condemned the attacks and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

The Catholic Church in the Central African Republic has attempted to persuade the militias to end the assault and leave the town, according to Catholic charity organization Caritas.

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MINUSCA also said there were reports of civilians killed.

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United Nations forces pushed the Christian anti-Balaka rebels from areas around the mosque, allowing those inside to leave for a more secure area, according to United Nations mission spokesman Herve Verhoosel. He said the attacks against the peacekeepers "may constitute a war crime".

In the Central African Republic, thirty civilians have been killed by militants in the border town of Bangassou.

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Overnight from 12 to 13 May, members of a wide coalition, including anti-Balaka elements attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims, in the Tokoyo neighborhood of Bangassou in southeastern Central African Republic. Ten peacekeepers, 9 Moroccan and a Cambodian, were injured in this attack.

"These recent incidents amply demonstrate that the situation in the Central African Republic is still fragile hence the need for continued and sustained regional and worldwide support to overcome the challenges at hand", the Secretary-General's spokesperson said.

Auto is emerging from civil conflict which began in 2013, with clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christians.

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