Around 60 dead in clashes in Central African Republic

Wed Oct 9, 2013 10:34am EDT
 
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By Paul Marin Ngoupana

BANGUI (Reuters) - Around 60 people have been killed in sectarian clashes in Central African Republic between local militias and former rebels, witnesses and a local official said on Wednesday.

The mineral-rich but impoverished nation has descended into chaos since mostly Muslim Seleka rebels from the north seized the capital Bangui in March, ousting President Francois Bozize.

The new transitional government's failure to stem the violence has prompted the U.N. Security Council to consider intervening to restore order.

Local self-defense militias, known as "anti-balaka" or anti-machetes, attacked a Seleka position in the mining village of Gaga, around 250 km (150 miles) northwest of Bangui, on Monday, killing four ex-rebels before attacking Muslim civilians.

The Seleka fighters retaliated against Christian civilians in the village, witnesses said. Seleka gunmen, many of them from neighboring Chad and Sudan, have repeatedly been accused of desecrating churches and terrorizing Christian communities.

"We're waiting for reinforcements in order to go there but the different accounts we've gathered from survivors coming from Gaga lead us to believe there are over 60 dead," said Judicael Kama, a gendarme in the nearby town of Yaloke.

Many of those wounded in the violence were taken to Yaloke's hospital, around 35 km from Gaga.

"TOTAL TERROR"   Continued...