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CAR mourners killed in grenade attack

Eleven people, including three children, killed in funeral blast as violence between Christians and Muslims continues.

Last updated: 29 Mar 2014 00:35
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Thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced by ongoing sectarian clashes [Reuters]

Eleven people have died in the Central African Republic in a grenade attack at a funeral, according to the Red Cross.

A Muslim threw the grenade at a crowd in a Christian district of the capital Bangui on Thursday night, residents told the Reuters news agency on Friday.

The status quo is bound to deteriorate further.

Christoph Wille, Control Risks consultancy

Antoine Mbao Bogo, head of the local Red Cross, said that 11 people were killed.

The UN Children's Fund also said that three of the dead were children.

Mainly Muslim fighters from the north, known as Seleka, seized power a year ago in the republic. Their rule was marked by a string of abuses on the majority Christian population, triggering waves of revenge killings that have left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

The Seleka left power in January under international pressure, giving way to an interim civilian government.

But the government, 2,000 French soldiers and a 6,000-strong African Union force have failed to halt attacks on Muslims by Christian militia, known as anti-Balaka, who seek to drive them out of the country.

Divided country

"The status quo is bound to deteriorate further," said Christoph Wille of the Control Risks consultancy. "The country is now effectively divided into a northeast held by former Seleka rebels, a capital controlled by international troops and the rest in the hands of a loose alliance of anti-Balaka militias."

The UN estimates that about 15,000 Muslims are still trapped in Bangui and the surrounding countryside.

In a sign of deteriorating security conditions, some of Bangui's displaced have started flocking back to makeshift camps, after briefly returning to their homes in recent weeks.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the number of internally displaced in the capital has increased from more than 20,000 to 200,000 since March 12.

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Source:
Reuters
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