Condemning the recent outbreak of ethnic violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) that has killed scores of people, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has called for an immediate end to the hostilities and urged the authorities to take urgent measures to protect the population from further violence, regardless of their ethnicity or political affiliation.
According to a news release, some 85 civilians have reportedly been killed, 76 wounded and nearly 11,000 displaced from the town of Bria, Haute Kotto prefecture due to clashed between two armed groups – the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC) and the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC).
“Given the country’s recent history, this kind of targeted violence is extremely dangerous and must be stopped,” said Special Adviser Adama Dieng, warning that new outbreak of violence could result in reprisal attacks and rapidly escalate.
He also called for full investigations into allegations of targeted killings and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
“If carried out in a widespread or systematic manner, such acts could constitute crimes under international law that can be prosecuted before national or international courts,” he stressed.
Reportedly, the FPRC singled out ethnic Fulani in Bria and carried out house-to-house searches, killing, looting and abducting residents. The armed group also occupied hospital buildings, preventing wounded Fulani from receiving medical treatment.
Peacekeeping troops deployed by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) later took control of the hospital and reinforced measures to protect civilians in Bria.
Clashes have also been reported between opposing factions of the mainly Muslim ex-Séléka armed group in Bambari, Ouaka prefecture.
The Secretary-General’s Representative for the CAR and the Deputy Representative travelled to Bria and Bambari, respectively, along with Ambassadors, UN officials and representatives of the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States and called for an immediate end to hostilities.
Also in the release, Special Adviser Dieng welcomed progress towards the establishment of the Special Criminal Court in the CAR, which will investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the country, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity since 2003.