Central African Republic: First Violence Since Election Kills 12

A supporter of Central African Republic's new president Faustin Archange Touadera celebrates.
A supporter of Central African Republic's new president Faustin Archange Touadera celebrates in Bangui, February 20. At least 12 people have been killed in the first outbreak of violence in CAR since Touadera's election. PACOME PABANDJI/AFP/Getty Images

At least 12 people have been killed in villages in Central African Republic (CAR) in the first outbreak of violence since before the conflict-torn country elected a new president.

CAR held largely peaceful elections in December 2015 after several years of sectarian violence. Faustin Archange Touadera, a former maths professor and ex-prime minister, was elected in a run-off vote on February 14 and has pledged to restore peace and disarm militant groups in the landlocked country, the third-poorest in the world in terms of GDP per capita.

The attacks took place near the central town of Bambari, local officials told Reuters on Sunday. Six people were killed in three villages on Saturday, the officials said, in attacks that appeared to be linked to livestock rustling or an inter-ethnic dispute involving the Peul ethnic group, also known as the Fulani. Peuls, who are mostly Muslim, have reportedly been targeted by largely Christian militias known as the anti-balaka.

Sectarian violence erupted in CAR following the deposition of former president Francois Bozize in March 2013 by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance known as the Seleka. Anti-balaka militias formed in response to the deposition of Bozize and the installation of Muslim leader Michel Djotodia. The rival militias have been locked in tit-for-tat violence since then, with more than 100 people being killed in the capital Bangui between September and November 2015, according to Human Rights Watch . The violence has also created a mass exodus, with more than 450,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring countries including Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Chad.

Bambari was designated a weapons-free zone in September 2015 by the United Nations, but the Seleka and anti-balaka militias still retain an armed presence in the town, according to Reuters.

Since 2013, CAR has become largely dependent on U.N. peacekeepers for maintaining security in the country—some 10,000 uniformed personnel are deployed as part of the U.N.'s mission in CAR, MINUSCA. The presence of peacekeepers, however, has been blighted by allegations of child sex abuse: the U.N. recently announced it was sending home 120 peacekeepers from DRC and the Republic of Congo after they were accused of the sexual exploitation of minors in CAR.At least 12 people have been killed in villages in Central African Republic (CAR) in the first outbreak of violence since before the conflict-torn country elected a new president.

CAR held largely peaceful elections in December 2015 after several years of sectarian violence. Faustin Archange Touadera, a former maths professor and ex-prime minister, was elected in a run-off vote on February 14 and has pledged to restore peace and disarm militant groups in the landlocked country, the third-poorest in the world in terms of GDP per capita.

The attacks took place near the central town of Bambari, local officials told Reuters on Sunday. Six people were killed in three villages on Saturday, the officials said, in attacks that appeared to be linked to livestock rustling or an inter-ethnic dispute involving the Peul ethnic group, also known as the Fulani. Peuls, who are mostly Muslim, have reportedly been targeted by largely Christian militias known as the anti-balaka.

Sectarian violence erupted in CAR following the deposition of former president Francois Bozize in March 2013 by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance known as the Seleka. Anti-balaka militias formed in response to the deposition of Bozize and the installation of Muslim leader Michel Djotodia. The rival militias have been locked in tit-for-tat violence since then, with more than 100 people being killed in the capital Bangui between September and November 2015, according to Human Rights Watch. The violence has also created a mass exodus, with more than 450,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring countries including Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Chad.

Bambari was designated a weapons-free zone in September 2015 by the United Nations, but the Seleka and anti-balaka militias still retain an armed presence in the town, according to Reuters.

Since 2013, CAR has become largely dependent on U.N. peacekeepers for maintaining security in the country—some 10,000 uniformed personnel are deployed as part of the U.N.'s mission in CAR, MINUSCA. The presence of peacekeepers, however, has been blighted by allegations of child sex abuse: the U.N. recently announced it was sending home 120 peacekeepers from DRC and the Republic of Congo after they were accused of the sexual exploitation of minors in CAR.

Central African Republic: First Violence Since Election Kills 12 | World