Red Cross finds 115 dead in Central African Republic town

AP News
Posted: May 17, 2017 11:21 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Fighting broke out in Central African Republic's northern town of Bria after several days of attacks in the southeastern city of Bangassou left at least 115 people dead, authorities said Wednesday.

The United Nations has warned that the sectarian violence that has plagued the country since late 2013 is now occurring in areas that previously had been spared.

The head of the Red Cross in Central African Republic, Antoine Mbao-Bogo, said his staff had counted 115 bodies in Bangassou after hundreds of militia fighters from a predominantly Christian group known as the anti-Balaka attacked a Muslim district and the U.N. peacekeeping base there over the weekend.

At least 50 others were injured, Mbao-Bogo said.

The U.N. reported more than 30 dead on Tuesday. Humanitarian agencies have called it incredibly difficult to retrieve corpses from the streets because of the ongoing insecurity.

The violence spread to Bria on Tuesday as fighting between the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels and the anti-Balaka left at least five dead and 29 injured, U.N. mission spokesman Herve Verhoosel said Wednesday. Peacekeepers intervened to separate the groups and restore calm.

A resident said Seleka members tried to disarm anti-Balaka members in the center of town but other Christian rebels started shooting.

A series of attacks in remote areas of the country in the past week have forced more than 15,000 people from their homes. More than 200 people have been killed. Among the victims are six U.N. peacekeepers, marking the deadliest month for the mission since it arrived in 2014.