- Title: Central African Republic death toll could reach 30, 6 UN soldiers confirmed dead
- Date: 15th May 2017
- Summary: PHOTOGRAPHS OF SLAIN SOLDIERS
- Embargoed: 29th May 2017 03:00
- Keywords: Onanga-Anyanga Touadera Christians target Muslims MINUSCA
- Location: BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- City: BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- Country: Central African Republic
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Civil Unrest
- Reuters ID: LVA0026GY6XC7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hundreds of civilians are seeking refuge inside a mosque in the Central African Republic's border town of Bangassou amid ongoing attacks by Christian militias that have killed up to 30 civilians, U.N. officials and aid workers said on Sunday (May 14).
The attacks throughout the weekend on the town of Bangassou on the Congolese border have involved hundreds of fighters with heavy weaponry and appeared to be aimed at Muslims, they said, in the latest sign that the multi-year conflict is worsening.
The U.N. base there has also been targeted, prompting the deployment of extra troops to the remote town on Sunday in anticipation of further attacks. They had succeeded in partly securing the town by dusk, said Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the U.N. mission (MINUSCA).
"The situation is extremely deplorable and we are doing everything to rapidly retake control of Bangassou," MINUSCA chief Parfait Onanga-Anyanga told Reuters in an interview.
Asked about the civilian death toll, he added: "It is clear that we are looking at numbers that could easily reach 20 to 30."
Local Red Cross President Pastor Antoine Mbao Bogo said gunfire continued to ring out from the town on Sunday, blocking attempts by his organisation and others to reach the wounded and recover the dead.
Onanga-Anyanga said 6 peacekeepers were killed in the attack and 11 wounded.
It was the second attack involving peacekeepers in a week in CAR. A special memorial ceremony was held on May 12 for five MINUSCA soldiers killed in an attack on their convoy by Christian militants in the southeast of the country on May 8.
President Faustin Touadera said he would visit Banguassou in the coming days and condemned the attack.
In recent months, roaming militias spurred by ethnic and religious rivalries have stepped up violence despite pledges to take part in a government-led disarmament programme.
Aid workers say that militias seem to be exploiting security voids after Ugandan and French soldiers left in the past few months when their missions ended.
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