The protesters laid out the corpses of 17 men who they said had been killed by UN troops on Tuesday, Al-Jazeera reported. The violence had begun with an ambush of United Nations peacekeepers after they had launched a security sweep, said the statement of MINUSCA.
The Central African Republic is one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries of the continent, since 2013, it has been mired in a cycle of ethnic and religious violence. Since Sunday, the UN peacekeepers and local militia have battled armed groups in Bangui’s PK5 neighbourhood – a Muslim enclave of the majority Christian city. The aim was to dismantle their bases there, but the price is too high.
On Thursday, the protesters, who blame UN soldiers for firing on residents protesting against the operation in PK5, carried the corpses wrapped in cloth to MINUSCA’s gates. The situation is getting strain as the bodies, draped in white, were laid before the closed door of the mission. The demonstrators say that they no longer understand anything.
‘Does the UN mission consist of shooting at civilians?’
said the protester Youssouf.
MINUSCA spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said mission troops had been targeting criminal gangs and denied they had fired at civilians.
“This is not an operation against communities and specifically the Muslim community. The Muslim community asked our troops to launch the operation and put an end to the criminal activities,”
Monteiro said when 17 dead bodies were brought to the mission, while the bodies of two women and two children remained at a mosque. The bodies were removed by the local Red Cross.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which operates one of the main hospitals in Bangui, said it had treated more than 40 people for gunshot wounds on Tuesday. MINUSCA officials were not immediately available on Wednesday to comment on the accusations that peacekeepers were responsible for the deaths.