CAR: Amnesty warns of return to devastating levels of violence
The United Nations peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic (CAR) faces its biggest test since being deployed last month, Amnesty International said today amid reports of armed clashes and sectarian violence in the capital Bangui which resulted in the killing of civilians.
Amnesty International’s CAR Christian Mukosa said:
“These disturbing reports present the biggest test yet for the UN peacekeeping force. It must do all it can to protect civilians threatened by the renewed violence. The biggest fear for civilians in the CAR is a return to the devastating levels of violence witnessed by Amnesty last December. The UN peacekeepers must work with all parties to the conflict to prevent unlawful killings and attacks on civilians.”
Heavy machine gun and mortar fire, as well as ransacking and burning of homes and businesses has been reported in various parts of the city amid clashes between Seleka, anti-Balaka forces and other armed groups. However, the CAR transitional authorities have so far remained silent on the escalating violence.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported today that rescue workers’ attempts to reach the injured and retrieve the dead were hindered by threats. Amnesty sources in the city report that dozens of people, including civilians, have been killed since Tuesday.
Amnesty’s Central African Republic expert Christian Mukosa is monitoring events and is available for interview from London..