West & Central Africa

Muslim attack on a Christian concert kills seven in Central African Republic

A grenade attack at a café, “On the Crossroads of Peace”, where a concert was organised to create a platform for peaceful reconciliation and integration among the Christian and Muslims, has killed seven people and injured about 20 in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The grenade attack, late Saturday 11th November, was carried out by two unidentified attackers on a motor bike during a concert organised by a local singer Ozaguin, Herve Verhoosel, the spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA said.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, the singer Ozaguin said six of his fellow musicians are among the injured. “Ozaguin came to perform here to ensure that all Central Africans,  Muslims and Christians, can find some social cohesion,” the cafe’s owner, Issiakou Guymba, told AFP. “An unidentified group came on a motorcycle-taxi, they threw one or some grenades in the middle of the crowd,” he said.

“It makes us lose hope, when people some to cause panic like that among the population.” Guymba said.

An immediate reprisal followed the attack killing three motorcycle taxi drivers. The concert goers believed the attack was carried out by Muslims because the café is located near the PK5 majority Muslim district of Bangui, a one-time Muslim rebel stronghold,  a report says.

“Three of our youth were killed, apparently in reprisal because they think that the Muslims were behind the grenade attack. We deplore that attack,” Habib Soule, a PK5 resident, said. “We set up barricades to ensure provocateurs don’t infiltrate our neighbourhood.”

Wanzet Linguissara, the Interior Minister, said “Following this heinous act, we have registered four deaths and 20 wounded, including four who are in serious condition and have been taken into the operating room,” he said.

“Even now there is sporadic gunfire in PK5 and the surrounding neighbourhoods are emptying,” said Gedeon Leki, a resident of the nearby Castors neighbourhood. “People are afraid the Muslims could take revenge for their dead.”

Congo DR has been in a protracted war since a Muslim Seleka militia rebel group toppled the Christian government of the predominantly Christian country and anti-Muslim Christian group, the anti-Balaka, has been at war with the Islamist group which has been attacking and devastation villages and communities since 2013.