The Central African Republic said Monday more than 60 people died in violence in its capital last month and stepped up accusations that the clashes were part of an attempted coup.
“The latest toll from the violence established by hospital sources is 61 dead and 300 hurt,” said a statement from the minister of public safety, Dominique Said Panguindji, who is also the government’s spokesman. Earlier estimates put the number of fatalities at about 40.
The violence began on September 26 after the murder of a Muslim driver and then spread to several districts of the city before French troops and UN peacekeepers from the 10,000-strong MINUSCA force restored calm.
Protestors threw up roadblocks and demanded the resignation of country’s interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, who was attending the UN General Assembly in New York. More than 30,000 people fled from their homes.
After rushing home, Samba Panza said those behind the violence had been trying to stage a coup.
In remarks broadcast on national radio on October 1, she denounced “an orchestrated manipulation by part of the population” to incite people to “rise up and resurrect sectarian conflicts”.