KINSHASA – MUSLIM Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) have killed at least 37 civilians, wounded 57 and forced thousands to flee when they razed a camp for displaced people in the restless country.
United Nations peacekeepers deployed outside the camp in the town of Kaga-Bandoro in the north reportedly failed to halt the attack, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
The rights group said mostly Muslim Seleka forces, possibly with assistance from Muslim civilians, shot, stabbed, or burned to death the civilians, including at least four women, five children, three older people, and four people with disabilities.
It is believed the casualty numbers are most likely higher because some victims were buried quickly.
In addition to field research, HRW said, using satellite imagery analysis, identified at least 175 destroyed homes in the neighborhoods around the camp and 435 destroyed huts in the camp itself.
Fighting has raged in CAR since December 2012, when the Seleka rebels, claiming to represent the country’s aggrieved Muslim minority from the northeast, moved southwest into more populated non-Muslim areas, killing thousands of civilians.
In mid-2013, Christian and animist militias, called the anti-balaka, formed to fight back, themselves committing serious human rights abuses.
– CAJ News