Over Sixty People Killed in Last Month’s Violence in CAROctober 6, 2015 in Central Africa Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR) reported on Monday that more than sixty people died in violence in its capital last month as the government increased accusations that the clashes were part of an attempted coup.
A statement from the minister of public safety, Dominique Said Panguindji, who is also the government’s spokesman, disclosed that “the latest toll from the violence established by hospital sources is 61 dead and 300 hurt.” Earlier estimates had put the number of fatalities at about forty.
The violence began on 26 September after the murder of a Muslim driver. It then spread to several districts of the capital Bangui before French troops and UN peacekeepers from the 10,000-strong MINUSCA force restored calm. During this period of tension, protesters set up roadblocks and demanded the resignation of the country’s interim president Catherine Samba Panza, who was attended the UN General Assembly in New York. Due to the recent spate of violence, more than 30,000 people have fled their homes. After ending her visit short, President Samba Panza stated that those behind the violence had been trying to stage a coup. In remarks that were broadcast on national radio on 1 October, she denounced “an orchestrated manipulation by part of the population” to incite people” to rise up and resurrect sectarian conflicts.” That accusation was amplified in Monday’s communiqué, which stated that “whatever the pretext, this crisis, the latest in an unending series, is the result of a long-prepared and meticulous Machiavellian scheme to put a brake on the process of peace and national reconciliation and the electoral process…The crisis which has been imposed on us is nothing more than a coup d’état, planned by the enemies of peace and by politicians lusting for power, seeking to overturn the transitional institutions,” adding that “the organizers and their clearly identified accomplices staged an armed insurrection to take power by force.”
Speaking on 1 October on the sidelines of the General Assembly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that it was “clear” that the violence in Bangui “seeks to destabilize the country and imperil the transition process.” The CAR was due to hold presidential and legislative elections on 18 October however the polls will have to be postponed because of delays in registering voters.