Central African Republic erupted into unprecedented violence in late 2013 when a Christian militia formed to combat a Muslim rebel government that had overthrown the president of a decade.
According to reports, members of a Christian militia known as the anti-Balaka attacked the prison on Monday, freeing hundreds of soldiers and militiamen.
Muslims left their stronghold in the 3rd district of Bangui on Saturday and attacked the largely Christian 5th district using automatic guns, heavier weapons and grenades.
Earlier, a whole lot of prisoners escaped from the primary jail in the capital and D.I. peacekeepers fired warning photographs to disperse hundreds of protesters calling for the rearming of the military.
Protesters alleged that United Nations and French forces did little to intervene in Saturday’s violence and called for the sidelined Central African army, the FACA, to assume responsibility for security.
“It’s very sad to see violence of such a scale occur once again, as we haven’t experienced anything like this since October a year ago”, said Emmanuel Lampaert, head of Doctors Without Borders mission Central African Republic.
The UN’s peacekeeping force, MINUSCA, denied the account but said it would seek to “verify” the accusations.
The chronically unstable country descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted longtime leader Francois Bozize.
The U.S. State Department condemned the violence in a statement that expressed support for Samba-Panza and her transitional government.
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.
UNICEF said children were targeted, citing the murders of three boys aged 16 and 17, including one who was decapitated.
Two years of violence in the landlocked country has killed thousands of people and forced many more to leave their homes.