6 civilians killed by Chadian soldiers in CAR, witnesses say

Witnesses say the troops randomly shot at the civilians without provocation.

Six civilians were killed by Chadian soldiers belonging to the African-led peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, witnesses said on Wednesday.

Two were shot dead late on Tuesday as peacekeepers were escorting Chadian refugees to a military base near the capital, Bangui’s M’poko airport, where more than 400,000 displaced people had taken refuge.

The troops randomly shot at the civilians without provocation, according to witnesses, with the outburst of violence causing scores of people to flee the refugee camp.

The Chadian troops are in CAR as part of the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic, MISCA, which was established by the UN in December to help disarm fighters.

Earlier on Tuesday, another four civilians were reportedly killed by Chadian MISCA soldiers in the town of Damara, 75 kilometres north of Bangui.

“I am trying to flee with my family for our protection,” a resident of Damara said.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF, warned that extreme levels of violence against civilians illustrated “the failure” of international efforts to protect the population.

The international community had “abandoned the people of CAR,” the medical aid organisation said in a statement.

Sectarian violence in CAR has caused thousands of deaths and displaced about one million people in just over a year.

The conflict took root when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels rose up against the government in December 2012.

This resulted in the ouster of President Francois Bozize, a Christian, three months later.

The resulting tensions had escalated in recent weeks with Christian vigilante groups engaging in violent conflicts with Seleka fighters in many parts of the country. Several Muslim civilians were also hounded by the Christian groups and killed in the capital, Bangui.

In January, the UN Security Council authorised the EU to provide a backup to the 1,600 French and 5,500 AU peacekeepers already seeking to quell the violence on the ground.


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