Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Clashes kill 100 in Central African Republic as ceasefire crumbles



At least 100 people have been killed following violent clashes between armed groups in the Central African Republic.
 
The bloodshed in the town of Bria erupted hours after the country's government signed a truce with rebel factions.


Mayor Maurice Belikoussou has said the number of dead is certain to rise - with dozens of people wounded and Red Cross teams warning it is too dangerous to collect bodies.


"There are still dead lying in the neighbourhoods, in the road and in the bush," the mayor told the Reuters news agency.


A local clergyman added: "Witnesses coming from different neighbourhoods say they have had to climb over dozens of bodies that now litter the ground."


Bria and surrounding areas are coveted by militias for their diamond mines, and an estimated 41,000 residents in the town have fled for their lives over the past month.


"The warring parties burned villages and neighbourhoods in Bria, forcing more of the population out with many fleeing into the bush," said Arsene Kongbo, a local MP.
 
 
The bloody conflict in the Central African Republic dates back to 2013 - killing thousands and displacing a fifth of the former French colony's five million people.


Previous agreements to quell the fighting between religious and ethnic rivals have quickly failed - with Christian anti-Balaka militias pitted against mostly Muslim Seleka rebels.


The latest peace deal had been signed in Rome on Monday after five days of talks. It had been described as an "historic agreement, a deal full of hope".


All but one of the 14 rebel factions in the Central African Republic had agreed to end attacks and blockades in exchange for political representation - but intense gunfire erupted in Bria soon after the ceasefire began.




SKY      News.