Friday 24 November 2017

Clashes in C. Africa leave at least 2 dead, 10 injured

Clashes in C. Africa leave at least 2 dead, 10 injured
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
FILE - Members of a rebel group are seen in the town of Bria, Central African Republic, July 15, 2013.

Fighting between armed groups around the town of Batangafo in northern Central African Republic have left at least two dead and 10 wounded, aid workers said Monday.

Seven of the wounded were admitted to a hospital run by Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Batangafo and three were sent to a facility in Kabo, Sandra Smiley, with MSF in the capital Bangui, said.

UN sources said fighting broke out on October 24 between anti-Balaka militia -- a group that says it is defending Christians -- and another armed group, the Patriotic Movement for Central Africa (MPC).

At least two people died in the village of Saraghba, a few kilometres from Batangafo, but it was too dangerous to access the zone to get a complete toll, concurring sources said.

Batangafo is one of many hotspots in the violence that has gripped CAR over the past four years.

In September, the death of a worker employed by a humanitarian group plunged the town into violence, leaving a confirmed death toll of six and 28,000 people without aid.

Mired in poverty but rich in diamonds and other minerals, CAR has been battered by a conflict between rival militias that began after then-president Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013.

Under a UN mandate, the former colonial power France intervened to push out the Muslim Seleka rebels who had taken over, and the UN launched a peacekeeping mission in 2014.

But the country remains chronically prone to violence, with armed groups controlling most of the country.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who last week made a four-day visit to CAR, is calling for the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the organisation's 10,000 peacekeepers when it expires on November 15, and add another 900 blue helmets.

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