130 dead in renewed CAR violence

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Rebel camp in the north-eastern Central African Republic.

KINSHASA – The resurgence of violence between self-defence groups and other armed groups in parts of the Central African Republic (CAR) has left more than 130 civilians dead, 600 homes burned and thousands displaced.

The militancy is characterised by brutal attacks, killings, robberies, looting, kidnappings and targets civilians and humanitarian workers.

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It has led to refugees from the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) fleeing back to their country.

Djerassem Mbaiorem, a local spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), said violence had seriously impacted on Congolese refugees living in a camp in Zemio, which was invaded by armed men in recent days.

The camp was hosting around 3 000 Congolese refugees. “Since the incident, many refugees including men, women and children have returned to the DRC in fear for their lives,” Mbaiorem said.

In Bria, northeast of the capital, Bangui, people are reported to have fled to the bush. A local camp hosting 2 400 is now empty with its whole population having fled the attacks.

Indiscriminate attacks have left some 136 people dead and 36 wounded, with 600 houses burned and an additional 180 looted.

“These are conservative estimates. People fleeing the violence speak of having witnessed brutal attacks, killings, robberies, looting and kidnappings,” Mbaiorem said.

UN forces have thwarted an attack by unidentified armed men attempting to break into UNHCR accommodation in Kaga Bandaro in the north of the country with the intention of attacking staff and looting their belongings.