World Bulletin / News Desk
At least 22 people were killed over Wednesday and Thursday in clashes between the predominantly Muslim Seleka militias and Christian anti-balaka militiamen in northern (Central African Republic), a source with the African-led force in the war-torn country said Friday.
The violence erupted Wednesday when anti-balaka militiamen attacked Seleke bases in Batangafo, 300 kilometers north of Bangui, prompting the Muslim militiamen to fight back, the source working with the African-led International Support Mission to CAR told Anadolu Agency.
"The clashes, which lasted for two days, left 22 dead and several others wounded, mostly civilians," the source said, without giving further details.
Sebastien Wenezou, an anti-balaka leader, confirmed the clashes but put the blame on the Seleke militias.
"The attack came from the Seleka based in the area. We, the anti-Balaka, are committed to peace," he told AA, in reference to a ceasefire agreement signed in Brazzaville last week.
"We have to respect the commitment made by our chief to the world," he added.
Yet, Amat Nidjad Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Seleke, gave an opposite version of the story. "The anti-Balaka are the ones who violated the agreement on cessation of hostilities," he said.
"This is not the first time that the anti-Balaka attacked us after signing the ceasefire. On the same day of the signing of the agreement (July 23), they attacked our men in Dekoua. Two days later, they dug up the body of a Muslim man in Boda and burned it," he added.
The clashes came one week after the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the two sides in in Brazzaville, DR Congo, under which both parties pledged to stop hostility and ensure the free movement of goods and people.
CAR descended into anarchy last year when Seleka rebels ousted then president Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup. The rebels later installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, as an interim president.
The country was plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between Christian anti-balaka militias and the seleka fighters.
Anti-Muslim violence escalated after Djotodia stepped down in January and was replaced by Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian who formerly served as mayor of the capital, Bangui.
Christians, who account for the majority of the country's population, accuse Muslims of supporting the former Seleka rebels blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions.Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ağustos 2014, 10:17