Sporadic Violence Builds Tension in CAR, At Least 16 Killed
ICC Note: In the capital of Central African Republic, Bangui, an argument led to the death of at least sixteen Christians. After an incident between a taxi driver and his customer that led to the death of the passenger, the Muslim community decided to lash out in retaliation against the Christian region of the city. During the attacks, at least sixteen Christians were murdered, including some by decapitation.
By Illia Djadi
02/26/2015 Central Africa Republic (World Watch Monitor) – An argument between a taxi driver and his customer has led to the death of at least 16 Christians in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).
A man known as Aladji hailed a motorcycle taxi and asked to be taken to KM5 (Kilometer 5), a Muslim-dominated district of Bangui. He was carrying a bag of grenades. When the motorcycle broke down, the driver stopped to fix it, but his agitated passenger pulled out a knife and tried to stab him. The driver overpowered Aladji and stabbed him to death; the body was later discovered at the Ali Abolo mosque in KM5.
After Aladji’s body was found, Muslims marched to the Christian sector of the city where they killed at least 16 – some were decapitated. Others were injured.
Witnesses reported hearing several gunshots in the KM5 and Gobongo districts following the incident. UN peacekeeping patrols succeeded in restoring calm.
Authorities arrested 10 members of Seleka – the almost entirely Muslim rebel group – following the killings. Legal action against them has already started, despite reports in L’Hirondelle – the local newspaper – that members of Seleka tried to free them.
On Tuesday, February 17, members of Seleka drove to the centre of Bangui, where bystanders recognised one of their commanders and the driver of another Seleka general. The bystanders immediately started shouting and throwing rocks at their car and, during the fracas, they discovered the vehicle was carrying weapons. Security forces intervened to protect the two men from being lynched.
According to L’Hirondelle, the drive-by was a distraction by the Seleka, set up to create an opportunity to rescue the 10 men accused of killing the Christians in KM5. Another local paper, l’Agora, said the accused were to be rescued while they were being transferred into detention.