Gunfire, looting in Central African capital despite curfew

AFP , Monday 28 Sep 2015

Central Africa
Fighters for the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Sporadic gunfire rang out in the capital of the Central African Republic overnight despite a curfew imposed following weekend violence that claimed at least 20 lives, residents said Monday.

Gunfire was heard in particular near a central police station in Bangui, they said, adding that several shops and homes were looted during the dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Medical sources said that in addition to the more than 20 dead, around 100 people were wounded in Saturday's violence sparked by the murder of a motorcycle-taxi driver in central Bangui's Muslim-majority PK-5 neighbourhood.

The area was the epicentre of unprecedented killings between Christians and Muslims in the city in late 2013 and early 2014.

French soldiers and UN peacekeepers remain in the former French colony where thousands of people died in the violence and hundreds of thousands remain displaced from their homes.

The chronically unstable country descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup ousted longtime leader Francois Bozize, and it remains prey to violence between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian militias known as the "anti-balaka", or anti-machete.

Although unrest has abated considerably, armed groups still operate in some parts of the country.

Presidential and legislative elections are due to be held by the end of the year, but they have already been pushed back several times as the country continues to grapple with the crisis.

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