The country is predominantly Christian, so the anti-balaka militias emerged in response to the Seleka, an alliance of Muslim rebel groups.
MINUSCA has denied reports that its troops killed three people and injured others after opening fire on a crowd of several hundred demonstrators heading towards the presidency to demand Samba Panza’s resignation.
Emmanuel Lampaert, MSF head of mission in Central African Republic, said: “It’s very sad to see violence of such a scale occur once again, as we haven’t experienced anything like this since October past year”.
Deadly clashes continued on Monday night, despite an overnight curfew with gunshots heard. At one point Muslims were slain and dismembered in the streets of Bangui, though the violence ebbed as tens of thousands of Muslims fled the country and a United Nations peacekeeping force took over from a regional one.
The D.J. State Department condemned the violence in a press release that expressed help for Samba-Panza and her transitional authorities.
Citing the high number of victims, damaged houses and the new wave of displacement, Vandenberghe warned the ongoing unrest poses as ” a big step backwards” on the return plan set-up by the Humanitarian Country Team for internally displaced persons. Witnesses stated he was killed by anti-balaka forces.
Red Cross officials say a death toll was hard to establish as they have been prevented from entering neighbourhoods by protesters and armed groups.
Private residences and workplaces for the worldwide Organisation for Migration (IOM) and a medical charity have been pillaged Sunday afternoon, in accordance to a Reuters witness.
UNICEF said Monday that children were “deliberately targeted” in the weekend flare up in Bangui – and called for the “appalling crimes” to stop.
The former French colony descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup ousted longtime leader Francois Bozize, and it remains prey to violence between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian militias known as the “anti-balaka”, or anti-machete. Last December, HRW warned that hundreds of Muslim residents in western parts of the Central African Republic are trapped in enclaves in deplorable conditions.