Massacre in auto forces hundreds to seek refuge in mosque

Posted May 16, 2017

Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera on Sunday condemned the violence and reassured citizens that "Central African Republic will never be left in the hands of these sowers of death". However credible sources have confirmed an undetermined number of civilian casualties.

Around 1000 people in the town had sought refuge from attacks inside and then found themselves trapped there by the militias, said U. N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Central African Republic Najat Rochdi. He said child soldiers, who appear to be drugged, are among the assailants.

MINUSCA chief Parfait Onanga-Anyanga told Reuters, "The situation is extremely deplorable and we are doing everything to rapidly retake control of Bangassou". In the same vein, he urged Central African Republic authorities to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators before justice.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, seen speaking in Beijing on Sunday, says he is "outraged" by the attacks. MINUSCA recalls that acts of violence on ethnic or religious grounds may constitute crimes under global law subject to prosecution in domestic or worldwide courts.

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According to the local leader of the Red Cross, Pastor Antoine Mbao Bogo, the fighting has continued the point where the Red Cross and other aid organisations are unable to go in to help the wounded and retrieve the dead.

In recent months, roaming militias spurred by ethnic and religious rivalries have stepped up violence despite pledges to take part in a government-led disarmament program.

Guterres strongly condemned the attack on the United Nations peacekeepers, which, he said, "may constitute a war crime". In January 2017, two Moroccan members of FAR squad of the MINUSCA were killed in an armed attack near the town of Bria on the northeast of the capital Bangui.

"The blood of peacekeepers and the blood of innocent Central Africans will not fall in vain in this country", he said. More than half of the population relies on humanitarian aid, but the United Nations says relief efforts are dangerously underfunded.