Eleven Killed in Central African Republic Grenade Attack
March 29, 2014 3:03 PM EST
Eleven people died in the capital of the Central African Republic after a grenade exploded among mourners gathered for a funeral, the Red Cross said on Friday, in what residents said was an attack on Christians.
Tit-for-tat inter-communal violence in the impoverished, landlocked country has intensified in recent days as Christian militia have become more militarised, aid workers say.
Two thousand French soldiers and 6,000 strong African Union peacekeeping mission have failed to stop the raging violence in the landlocked, impoverished country that has killed thousands.
Residents told Reuters a Muslim tossed a hand grenade at a crowd in a Christian district of Bangui's PK5 neighbourhood on Thursday night. Antoine Mbao Bogo, head of the local Red Cross, said that 11 people were killed, including both those who died instantly and later in hospital.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that three of the dead were children.
Mainly Muslim rebels from the north known as Seleka seized power a year ago in Central African Republic. Their rule was marked by a string of abuses on the majority Christian population, triggering waves of revenge killings that left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.
The former rebels quit power in January under international pressure, giving way to an interim civilian government. But it has been powerless to halt attacks on Muslims by Christian militia known as anti-balaka intent on driving them from the country.
Heavy and light arms fire has rung out most nights this week while armed Christian militia known as anti-balaka are manning checkpoints across Bangui, according to a Reuters witness.
"The status quo is bound to deteriorate further," said Christoph Wille of the Control Risks consultancy.
"The country is now effectively divided into a northeast held by former Seleka rebels, a capital controlled by international troops and a the rest in the hands of a loose alliance of anti-balaka militias."
The United Nations estimates that about 15,000 Muslims are still trapped in Bangui and the surrounding countryside.
Volker Turk, of the U.N. refugee agency, said that anti-balaka elements were becoming more militarised and had "besieged" the Muslim population in the town of Boda.
The African Union branded the Christians targeting Muslims as "terrorists" this week, a day after a Congolese peacekeeper was killed.
In a sign of deteriorating security conditions, some of Bangui's displaced have started flocking back to make-shift camps, after briefly returning to their homes in recent weeks.
U.N. aid agency OCHA said that the number of internally displaced in Bangui has increased by more than 20,000 to 200,000 since 12 March.
"Many residents feel trapped - unable to stay, but also unable to leave," said Philippe Bolopion, United Nations director at Human Rights Watch.
"They risk being lynched or attacked on the street if they try to go to another neighbourhood or to move outside of Bangui."
The European Union has pledged to send up to 1,000 peacekeepers to help protect the displaced. But the plan has been delayed because of the failure of European governments to provide key soldiers and equipment.
Most Popular Slideshows
- Kate Middleton Suffocated in Kensington Palace, Queen Elizabeth Reported War With The Duchess [PHOTOS]
- Brad Pitt Still in Love with Ex-Wife Jennifer Aniston, Staying with Angelina Jolie for Sake of Kids, Claims Brad's Psychic
- 2014 MTV Video Music Awards: Everything To Know [PHOTOS]
- Miranda Kerr Broke Her Silence: Not Pregnant With James Packard’s Baby [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Woman Posts Ad for Herself As 'Professional Bridesmaid' On Craigslist
- Mass Panic Over Houston's 'Blinking Lights' in the Sky; UFO Sceptics Still Not Convinced
- American Journalist Steven Sotloff at Risk of Beheading Too If US Gov’t Refuses to Pay $100 Million Ransom to Islamic State Like It Did With James Foley
- Social Gap Between New Zealand Ethnic Groups 'Worsening'
- Autistic Business Owners Capitalize On Strengths For Success
- James Foley Beheading Video Has Play-Acting Portions – Video Experts Say
- Apple iPhone 6 Release Date, iPhone 6C or 6L Anticipation: Three Things Should Matter To New Phone Shoppers
- Upcoming Sony Xperia Z3 With Dual-SIM Support Gets Approved In China; Full Specifications Revealed; Amber-Coloured Xperia Z3 Tipped
- More Nexus 8/Nexus 9 Release Confirmed with More Leaks and Out of Stock Nexus 7 and 10
- James Foley: Release of Beheading Video by ISIS Meant to Attract More Recruits to Join the Cause – Intelligence
- 2015 Ford Mustang: Right-Hand Drive Pony Car To Be Available In Australia Next Year
- Google Works on Powering Up Chromebook Line to Kill Competitors, Nvidia Joins with Acer for New Killer Laptop