At least 20 killed in C.African sectarian violence: Police

AFP , Tuesday 25 Aug 2015

At least 20 people were killed and many others injured in days of sectarian clashes in the Central African Republic, sparked by the death of a young Muslim, police sources said Tuesday.

The clashes in the central region of Bambari broke out Thursday following confrontations between primarily Christian anti-Balaka militants and young Muslims and Muslim ex-Seleka rebels.

By the following day, continuing violence had killed 10 people and injured another five, before erupting again Sunday.

The initial spark for the sectarian blood-letting was the August 20 killing of a young Muslim man beaten to death by armed individuals identified as anti-Balaka militants.

Antagonists from both camps have battled each other repeatedly since the 2013 coup by Seleka forces against leader Francois Bozize unleashed a wave of violence in the former French colony.

As calm was restored Tuesday, a police source put the toll at 20 dead and "many injured".

The victims were mainly non-Muslims "shot dead in the Bornou and Kidjigra areas," the police source said. Other sources confirmed the toll figure.

Local resident Isidore Andjizago told AFP by phone Tuesday that "calm seems to have returned, The town is deserted and there is no more sound of gunfire."

Representatives from the government and the UN's MINUSCA mission arrived on Monday "to try to convince the two camps to cease hostilities," he added.

Driven from power in January 2014 following an international military intervention, the former Seleka rebel coalition based its top commanders in Bambari, an area that has regularly been shaken by sectarian violence ever since.

Unlike the capital Bangui, which was restored to relative calm several months ago, many areas in the provinces remain lawless, stalked by armed groups and bandits.

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