8 dead in CAR capital, rebel leaders flee

Updated: 2014-01-27 10:23


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Samba-Panza has pledged to hold talks with armed groups in an effort to restore order and used her inaugural address to plead for militia to lay down their arms to halt the escalating inter-religious violence.

But lynchings and looting, particularly targeting Bangui's predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods, have continued unabated even after deployments of French and African troops in the city.

A witness saw the bodies of two victims of a mob attack burning in the street in Bangui's Castor district.

"The youth in the neighbourhood saw the men here. They called them over, and they ran away. They caught them just right here and killed them," said a young man who gave his name only as Alex.

Another witness reported heavy fighting with automatic gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades between Seleka fighters and anti-balaka in the PK12 neighbourhood. A senior humanitarian official said other clashes occurred in the Miskine neighbourhood.

The violence has swept across the countryside outside of the capital where international peacekeepers are less present.

On Sunday, Amnesty International warned of the potential of large-scale killing in the northwestern towns of Baoro and Bossemptle, where civilians were killed and hundreds of homes were burned last week.

"There is a huge risk of a major human tragedy because of the complete absence of any peacekeeping force," Amnesty senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera said in a statement.

"Peacekeepers were sent to the CAR with a clear mandate: to protect civilian lives. They must not fail it."

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