October 8, 2014 / 2:33 PM / in 3 years

Two killed, corpse mutilated, in Central African Republic unrest

BANGUI (Reuters) - An angry crowd killed a Muslim man in the capital of Central African Republic overnight, decapitating and burning his corpse, and in revenge Muslims killed a taxi driver, witnesses said on Wednesday.

The incident brings to seven the number of people killed in the latest inter-communal attacks that began on Sept. 29 despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers who fired shots in the air in the KM-5 neighborhood of Bangui on Wednesday to restore calm.

The Muslim man was chased by Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militiamen in the northern suburb of Gobongo because he was suspected of having thrown a grenade from a bus into a market, injuring several, the witnesses said.

Red Cross officials returned the corpse to a Muslim neighborhood for burial. The revenge killing was of a taxi driver in the KM-5 neighborhood, said Ousmane Abakar, a spokesman for Muslims in the city.

“It was in retaliation for the (initial) act that was committed,” Abakar told Reuters by telephone.

The former French colony has been gripped by violence since Michel Djotodia led Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels and some fighters from neighboring Chad and Sudan, in an assault on the capital Bangui and seized power in March 2013.

Seleka’s rule was marked by abuses that prompted a backlash from the anti-balaka Christian militia. Tit-for-tat violence continued despite Djotodia’s resignation from the presidency in January.

Most Muslims have fled the south of the country, creating a de facto partition. Some members of the Seleka leadership have pushed for this to be formalized.

Reporting by Crispin Dembassa Kette; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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