CAR: UN Raises Alarm over Flares in Killings

BANGUI  MAY 19, 2017(CISA)-The United Nations has expressed concern over latest flare up of violence that has claimed over 100 people.

“Violence and rising tensions are spreading to areas of the Central African Republic that had previously been spared the kinds of terrifying violence seen in some other parts of the country. This is highly worrying and should set off loud alarm bells,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement May 16.

He warned that defenceless civilians would suffer the most in the face of violence that is at risk of spreading other areas destabilising the relative calm experienced for some time.

“The hard-earned relative calm in Bangui and some of the bigger towns in CAR risks being eclipsed by the descent of some rural areas into increasing sectarian violence with defenceless civilians as usual paying the highest price,” he added.

Mr Zeid also noted the fact that the Special Criminal Court is preparing to start its work is a strong signal by the authorities and the international community that the continued climate of impunity is unacceptable.

According to the UN, the violence that broke out in the country May 13 between anti-Balaka fighters targeting ex-Seleka rebels has so far claimed the lives of 121 civilians in Bangassou.

It added that over 25,000 people are displaced with 3,000 fleeing across the border to Congo.

The violence also marked the deadliest month for the UN mission in the country since it began its mission in 2014 as six peacekeepers were among the victims.

The UN warned that, “Attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes,” and reminded all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law.

It called on the government to swiftly investigate this violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The violence represents a new escalation in a conflict that began in 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters seized power and ousted President Francois Bozize, prompting reprisal killings from Christian anti-Balaka militias.

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