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Vol 56 No 20

Published 9th October 2015

Central African Republic

Blood returns to Bangui

The failure of UN peacekeepers to contain the violence is a worrying setback for the organisation, the interim government, and France

The international military forces and their leaders, who were charged with control of Bangui and keeping the militias apart, have met fierce criticism for failing to stop the worst outbreak of violence in the capital for nearly two years. At least 42 people have been killed in inter-communal murders, and some 600 prisoners in the central Bangui gaol escaped. Meanwhile, rioters attacked the Gendarmerie in order to seize their weapons. The spark for the violence was the murder of a Muslim motorcycle taxi-driver, retaliation by fellow Muslims, then revenge by Anti-Balaka, and then further retaliation. Anti-Balaka groups soon locked down the city and the violence, looting and arson that followed was the worst since the massacres that began on 5 December 2013. The level of organisation Anti-Balaka showed in contrast to previous incidents has led to speculation that it may have organised the murder in order to provoke the unrest.

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