61 people killed in CAR violence in September: Official
September’s violent clashes in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have left more than 60 people dead and 300 others injured, an official says.
“The latest toll from the violence established by hospital sources is 61 dead and 300 hurt,” said a statement on Monday by the Minister of Public Safety Dominique Said Panguindji.
Earlier estimates had reckoned the death toll to be approximately 40 people.
The late September violence, which was triggered by the murder of a Muslim taxi driver on the 26th, caused ethnic turmoil in several districts of the capital where barricades were set up to block armed Christian militia groups roaming on the main streets.
To quell the violence, which was the worst this year in the capital, soldiers from the peacekeeping forces in CAR took action to disperse the crowds.
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, along with French troops, has been deployed to the country to restore security to the conflict-ridden nation.
The transitional government blamed the September violence on individuals who were seeking to derail the upcoming elections.
Violence first erupted in the CAR in 2013 following a coup that ousted President Francois Bozize. The coup pushed the country into an ethnic conflict between the Christian and Muslim populations of the country, which continued until last year.
Since then, the level of violence has fallen significantly, however, the country still has high crime rates fueled in part by easy access to weapons left over from the sectarian conflict.
Sectarian violence emerged when the largely Christian “anti-balaka” militias began taking avenge for what they called the atrocities of members of the Seleka group, who had been behind the coup, resulting in waves of killing, rape, and pillaging ever since.
Around 2.7 million people, more than half the population, are still in need of aid while 1.5 million people are facing food insecurity.
In an attempt to restore peace and stability to the former French colony, a transitional government headed by Catherine Samba Panza was formed in August 2014. It included members from different political parties and ethnic groups.
Presidential and parliamentary elections in the country are scheduled for next month.