More than 500 reported dead in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic — More than 500 people have been killed over the past week in sectarian fighting in Central African Republic, aid officials said on Tuesday, as France reported that gunmen killed two of its soldiers who were part of the intervention to disarm thousands of rebels accused of attacking civilians.
Aid workers have collected 461 bodies across Bangui, the capital, since Thursday, said Antoine Mbao Bogo of the local Red Cross. But that latest figure does not include the scores of Muslim victims whose bodies were brought to mosques for burial.
The government of the predominantly Christian country was overthrown in March by Muslim rebels from the country's north. While the rebels claimed no religious motive for seizing power, months of resentment and hostility erupted last week in a wave of violence.
The French deaths occurred as French President Francois Hollande arrived for a visit to France's former colony, heading into the tumultuous capital after attending a memorial in South Africa for Nelson Mandela.
“The mission is dangerous. We know it,” Hollande told troops in a huge airport hangar after paying respects at the coffins of the two young soldiers. “But it is necessary in order to avoid carnage.”
The Obama administration has asked the State Department to spend up to $60 million for defense supplies to assist the African Union-led international support mission in the Central African Republic.
The White House said on Tuesday that the defense equipment will assist France, the African Union, the Congo and other countries helping the mission.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the U.S. military to transport troops in from Burundi to help quell the latest upsurge in violence.
President Michel Djotodia condemned the attack on the French forces and blamed former leader Francois Bozize, whom he ousted from power in March, for touching off the turmoil on the streets of Bangui. About 100,000 people have been forced from their homes, aid officials say.
The early French casualties underscore the volatility of the mission to disarm combatants and bring stability to a largely anarchic capital. A mob on Monday stoned to death a suspected enemy in the street, and armed fighters have abducted and killed hospital patients.
Tensions flared again Tuesday as a mob of young men set fire to a mosque in the Fou neighborhood of Bangui. Smoke billowed from smoldering vehicles nearby, and young men used pick axes and whatever tools they found to try to tear down the walls of the mosque.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- French riot police push back migrants at Channel Tunnel
- Israeli teen stabbed at pride parade dies
- Comets hold life building blocks
- Al-Qaida branch in Syria threatens U.S.-backed forces
- Zimbabwe suspends hunts amid outcry over lion’s death
- Vibrantly colored mural spread across 200 homes in central Mexico city
- Al-Qaida group in Syria targeted by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes
- Taliban fracture outcome unclear
- Senate to grill United Nations agency chief Amano on Iran nuclear pact
- Bin Laden relatives among crash casualties
- Humanitarian cease-fire halts airstrikes in Yemen