Hostages freed from mosque in Central African Republic

Hostages freed from mosque in Central African Republic

On Sunday, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "outraged" by the suspected anti-Balaka attacks against civilians and the UN's multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) May 12 and 13.

"This is highly worrying and should set off loud alarm bells".

United Nations and aid workers have reported that hundreds of civilians are seeking refuge in a mosque in Bangassou, a town in the Central African Republic (CAR) bordering the Congo, after Christian militias massacred up to 30 civilians over the weekend.

The attack in the city of Bangassou also claimed the lives of civilians. The armed men also attacked the Muslim neighbourhood of Tokoyo where numerous civilians were killed and others wounded.

Investigations by MINUSCA's Human Rights Division suggest that between March and May 2017 more than 121 civilians were killed (these figures do not include the two incidents mentioned above), as well as six peacekeepers.

So far, the bodies of at least 26 people have been identified.

These attacks resulted in one Moroccan peacekeeper killed and one Moroccan peacekeeper injured, as well as civilian casualties and significant population displacement.

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In 2013, mainly Muslim Seleka fighters seized power and pushed out then-President Francois Bozize, sparking sectarian violence and reprisal killings from Christian-majority anti-Balaka militias.

The African Union, France and Spain have also strongly condemned the recent attacks against MINUSCA.

Reiterating support to the Central African authorities and to MINUSCA in implementing its mandate to protect civilian populations, France said it is "determined to continue, in consultation with its European, African and worldwide partners, its efforts for the stabilization and consolidation of peace in the Central African Republic".

More than 3,000 people had fled within hours of violence erupting late Friday when members of the mainly-Christian anti-Balaka militia attacked civilians and a United Nations field office.

Up to 8,500 people were displaced in the fighting, he said, and the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs plans to lead an inter-agency fact-finding mission there.

The Council called on the Government to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

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