Two Red Cross workers were injured in sectarian clashes in the Central African Republic that have left at least 10 people dead, the aid group said Saturday. Related Stories The violence in the central region of Bambari broke out following the death of a young Muslim who was “beaten by armed individuals identified as (Christian) anti-balaka militants”.
On Thursday an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team and its leader as well as volunteers from the Central African Red Cross went to evacuate the wounded and the dead when they were attacked by demonstrators, ICRC spokesman Germain Mwehu said. The local leader, who is of “European origin”, and a Central African Red Cross volunteer “were slightly injured with a knife but their lives are not at risk,” Mwehu added. “This attack on aid workers is very serious,” said Mwehu.
“We hope this is an isolated act.” The Central African Republic descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup against longtime leader Francois Bozize that unleashed a wave of violence in the former French colony, pitting Christian anti-balaka militias against Muslim Seleka rebels. Driven from power in January 2014 following an international military intervention, the former Seleka rebel coalition had based its top commanders in Bambari, an area that has regularly been shaken by sectarian violence ever since.
On Saturday tensions were subsiding in Bambari, though improvised barricades were still blocking access to certain neighbourhoods. Young demonstrators, from both the Muslim and Christian communities, erected the barriers to protect themselves from gunfire and keep militia fighters from their neighbourhoods. Unlike Central Africa’s capital Bangui, which has experienced relative calm in recent months, numerous other areas are still prey to armed groups and crime.