West & Central Africa

Anti Balaka Christian Militia attacks Muslims killing 30 in DR Congo

Anti-Balaka militias, formed from the Christian communities attacked and killed about 30 mostly Muslim people in night time attacks on 12 May in the Tokoyo neighbourhood of Bangassou in the South East of the Central African Republic.

Hundreds of the Muslims have taken refuge at a Catholic church, a Mosque, and a hospital.

A statement from the United Nations Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)  said that the Secretary-General expressed outrage at the attacks. “These attacks led to significant population displacement, an undetermined number of civilian casualties and the death of one Moroccan peacekeeper, bringing to six the number of peacekeepers killed in the Central African Republic this week,”  spokesperson said,

A Pastor and local Red Cross President, Antoine Mbao Bogo, said persistent gunfire on Sunday made it impossible for the Red Cross to reach the injured and recover the dead.

The Catholic Church in the Central African Republic demanded without any success, that the militias, who claim to be fighting on behalf of the Christians, stop their attacks and leave the town, according to Caritas a Catholic charity organization.

Herve Verhoosel, MINUSCA spokesman, expressed his fears over further attacks: “We don’t think that this is over.”

Recently bands of militias ganging up under ethnic and religious groups have escalated the violence despite pledges to disarm and take part in a government-led peace program. Aid workers point out that these groups of militias are exploiting many months of lack of security provided by the absence Ugandan and French soldiers who have when their missions ended.

The Central African Republic has been devastated by religious a war since 2013 when a minority Muslim Seleka fighters overthrew President Francois Bozize. This sparked off an Anti-Balaka militia’s reprisal killings mostly drawn from the Christian majority population. The conflict so far has displaced about 400,000 people.