11 - 05
Clashes in the Central African Republic have resulted in at least 37 deaths and thousands of displaced people, the Red Cross has said.
While Red Cross made the revelation on Thursday, the violence that rocked the town of Alindao, located about 100 km to the east of the central city of Bambari, occurred between Saturday and Sunday. Sporadic gunfire was still being heard on Wednesday, rendering it difficult for local teams to recover bodies and go to the rescue of those displaced and still hiding in the bush.
So far however, more than 3,000 people have sought refuge in the local church, which also doubles as the local base for the MINUSCA peacekeeping base.
The violence pitted fighters from the UPC, an affiliate of the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance that toppled the Central African Republic government in 2013, and anti-balaka fighters, a predominantly Christian militia that rose up as a counter force to the Seleka.
It is unclear why the two groups clashed in Alindao, though it is possibly a clash for control; just days prior, the UPC had a conflagration with the FPRC militia in the neighboring Ouaka Prefecture, resulting in 45 dead. These two groups are predominantly Muslim, but have different ethnic compositions.
The bishopric of Alindao has called for a meeting with Ali Darassa, leader of the UPC, in order to put a definitive end to the spate of violence.
News of the killings have come shortly after the UN confirmed that it had suffered its biggest lost yet in the fragile nation, following the deaths of 5 peacekeepers in the southeast of the country. 10 other peacekeepers were injured in the attack, officially blamed on ‘local actors’, who are most likely anti-balaka elements.
These recent turn of events show that, despite achieving some progress, including managing a democratic presidential election in 2016, the Central African Republic remains very susceptible to anarchy, as the government is unable to exert its influence across the nation.