Bangui mob kills CAR ex-rebels

File: Central African Republic leader Michel Djotodia speaking on Republic Plaza in Bangui. Djotodia's rebel coalition Seleka seized power in the Central African Republic last month. Photo: AFP

BANGUI, Central African Republic - A mob in Bangui has killed seven ex-rebels, prompting Central Africa's new strongman to beef up security on Tuesday in a bid to stem civilian anger over looting blamed on his Seleka group.

"Seven Seleka members who had been disarmed by military police were killed and five wounded on Monday evening and Tuesday morning in Boy-Rabe by armed men and civilians," General Ousman Mahamat told reporters.

The Seleka fighters had been deliberately disarmed by the army to try and calm things down in the northern Boy-Rabe neighbourhood - the scene of repeated pillaging and violence, Mahamat said.

He added that one of the victims had had his skull shattered by a large stone.

Nearly 20 people were killed in clashes between residents and Seleka ex-rebel fighters in the capital over the weekend.

The clashes occurred as the Seleka fighters - who grabbed the capital last month, ousting former president Francois Bozize - were searching for hidden weapons, according to one police official.

With tension bubbling in Boy-Rabe - Bozize's former electoral district - authorities had been talking to residents and religious leaders to "find common ground" and calm the situation, Mahamat said.

According to residents, the neighbourhood - along with many other areas of Bangui - has suffered rampant looting by men, many of whom claimed to be from Seleka.

Central African Republic has taken a number of measures to temper the post-coup crisis, including the stepping up of security forces in Bangui.

On Tuesday interim president Michel Djotodia announced that 1,000 extra police would be deployed to restore order to the capital.

"We have ridden the city of intruders on the Bozize and Seleka side," he said.

In Bangui, 1,000 Seleka members would be confined to barracks, he said, "and they will not be allowed to do whatever they want."

Other Seleka troops would however be deployed to 15 of Central African Republic's 16 provinces "to ensure the security of property and people".

A summit in Chad on Thursday to examine developments in the strife-torn country is due to debate a request by the interim government for fellow central African nations to send a further 1,000 troop as reinforcements.

In recent days, Central African Republic's government has appointed a special council headed by an opposition leader to guide the impoverished and unstable nation through a political transition.

The 105-member council will act as a constituent assembly and take on legislative responsibilities normally carried out by parliament. It will comprise members from across the political spectrum as well as union, judicial and religious figures.

On Saturday the council named Djotodia, who took power in the March 24 coup, interim president for a period of no more than 18 months.

He has vowed to uphold a peace deal that promises elections within three years.


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