47 killed in clashes in the Central African Republic
Human rights activists demand investigations into violent deaths of 21 civilians: End impunity! (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has called for independent investigations into the violent deaths of 21 civilians in the Central African Republic. The bodies of the 13 men, four women, and four children were found after anti-Balaka militiamen had attacked a UN camp on Tuesday, near a church in the village of Tagbara in Bambari County. Initial findings suggest that they were killed with machetes.
“It is important to clarify whether this was a massacre against the civilian population – or whether they died in clashes between militiamen and UN peacekeepers,” the human rights organization wrote to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, demanding impunity for crimes against the civilian population in the country. The conflict has been going on since 2012.
On Tuesday morning, anti-Balaka militiamen had attacked a camp of the UN peacekeeping mission Minusca near Tagbara. A UN peacekeeping officer from Mauritania and 25 attackers were killed, and eleven people were injured. The militiamen apparently wanted to free seven of their fighters who had been captured by the blue-helmet soldiers the day before – including the alleged mastermind of a massacre in Tagbara in which several dozen people lost their lives two weeks ago.
“The ongoing massacres show that there is not enough protection for the civilian population in the Central African Republic. The international community has to go to more effort to disarm the militias, who are terrorizing the civilian population,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. The Christian or Muslim militias – which are controlling around 80 percent of the national territory – are currently trying to conquer lucrative diamond mines.
“The Minusca is hardly able to counter the terror of the militias, largely because of the size of the Central African Republic and because of the limited human and financial resources,” Delius stated. Crimes against humanity – rape of women and men, for instance – are widespread, and even priests become victims of violence. In the middle of March 2018, for example, a Catholic priest was murdered by militiamen in Seko not far from Tagbara.
Header Photo: Eskinder Debebe via Flickr, UN Photo