Death toll from fresh clashes hits 100 in Central African Republic

June 21, 2017 10:30 pm

In this file photo, anti-Balaka Christian militiamen man a mobile checkpoint near Sibut, northeast of the capital Bangui, the . (Photo by AP)

The death toll from a day of fierce clashes between rival factions has increased to around 100 in violence-wracked Central African Republic(CAR).
Security sources and NGOs said some 40 people had been killed with dozens more wounded after shooting erupted early on Tuesday in the central town of Bria, the capital of the northeastern prefecture of Haute-Kotto.  
The town’s mayor, Maurice Belikoussou, said, “The death toll will certainly rise. For now it’s an estimate and it could be up to 100 dead.”
“There are still dead lying in the neighborhoods, in the road and in the bush.”
Local lawmaker Arsene Kongbo said, “The warring parties burned villages and neighborhoods of Bria, forcing more of the population out with many fleeing into the bush.”
A local Red Cross official said that calm had returned to the town.
The fierce fighting began just hours after Bangui reached a deal with rebel groups on an immediate ceasefire in an agreement brokered by a Catholic group in Rome on Monday

The photo taken on December 9, 2014 shows UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrolling in Bangui, the Central African Republic (AFP Photo)

The latest clashes dashed hopes that a ceasefire signed between more than a dozen militias in Rome could succeed in ending a conflict.
Since mid-May, Bria and several other towns such as Bangassou, Alindao and Mobaye have been engulfed by violence.
The UN’s humanitarian organisation (OCHA) and the government said the fighting had already killed 300 people, wounded 200 and displaced 100,000 others by the end of the month,
The OCHA figures show that the violence has forced more than 40,000 people out of their homes in Bria alone.
Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the UN’s special representative in Central , has called for an immediate halt to the violence.
“It is vital that the cease-fire agreed upon by the parties comes into force immediately to free the populations and the many regions of the country that are still suffering from armed violence,” Onanga-Anyanga said on Wednesday.
“This violence has also forced more than 100,000 people to flee inside the country and more than 20,000 others to seek refuge in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Anyanga added, referring to the overall effect of unrest across CAR since mid-May. “The total number of internally displaced persons has therefore surpassed the 500,000 mark.”
Some 13,000 peacekeepers have been deployed to the country by the United Nations as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR (MINUSCA). Civilians say the mission has failed to protect them against armed groups.
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday released a report highlighting the plight of people with disabilities in CAR, saying they had faced violent attacks and were especially vulnerable while trying to flee.
One of the world’s poorest nations, the Central African Republic has been struggling to recover from a civil war that started in 2013.
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