[QODLink]
Africa

Reports: Scores killed in CAR gun battles

At least 55 dead in fighting between new president's forces and those loyal to deposed leader.

Last Modified: 09 Sep 2013 21:16
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The fighting comes after a UN warning that the country is on the brink of collapse [EPA]

At least 55 people have been killed in fighting between the forces of the new Central African Republic (CAR) president and those loyal to deposed leader Francois Bozize, according to the government and a regional peacekeeping force.

Bozize's forces infiltrated villages around Bossangoa, 250km northwest of the capital Bangui, destroying bridges and other infrastructure and "taking revenge against the Muslim population", Guy-Simplice Kodegue, spokesman for the office of President Michel Djotodia, said on Monday.

Bossangoa is the main town of the Ouham district where General Bozize was born.

Former rebels of the Seleka coalition ended Bozize's 10-year rule on March 24 and their leader, Djotodia, then became head of state.

That weapons fire caused people to flee in all directions

Military Source to AFP

On Monday morning, "heavy and light arms fire" were heard in the district of Bouca, on the road leading to Bossangoa, a military source in Bangui told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

"That weapons fire caused people to flee in all directions," the source said.

These clashes caused some 10 deaths on Sunday in Bossangoa, including two employees of the humanitarian organisation ACTED, another military source said.

At least four fighters from Seleka were also killed, the presidential office's spokesman said.

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that thousands of people had been displaced and at least eight villages were razed to the ground during recent violence in the north of the country, which has long been a lawless territory outside the towns.

The fighting on Saturday and Sunday comes after a UN warning that the country is on the brink of collapse. 

Since Seleka seized power, the security situation has remained chaotic, and Djotodia's regime faces a major challenge in restoring order and disarming ex-combatants, despite the presence of a regional military peacekeeping force in Bangui.

CAR has been chronically unstable since independence from France in 1960, plagued by coups, rebellions, army mutinies and prolonged strikes by civilians.

350

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.