Central African Republic: UN Helicopter Kills Four Militants in CAR
By Ole Tangen Jr (Reuters, Dpa)
A UN helicopter fired upon militants advancing into the town of Bambari in the Central African Republic. MINUSCA troops said that the militants had crossed a "red line."
One top leader and three other fighters from the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) were killed in a helicopter attack by UN forces in the town of Bambari in the Central Africa Republic (CAR). The fighters were advancing on the town and according to a spokesperson for the UN's mission in CAR known as MINUSCA, the fighters had crossed a "red line" it had set in the north of the town.
"We were looking to prevent war in Bambari," said spokesman Vladimir Monteiro, referring to the town about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of the capital Bangui.
A final death toll has yet to be established but Azor Kanite, the FPRC's deputy commander, said that at least four people were killed.
"Our top commander (Joseph Zonduko) and three civilians were killed by the bombings," said Kanite.
The FDRC is one of the largest groups of militants in the CAR and were a part of the mostly Muslim rebellion known as Seleka which overthrew then President Francois Bozize in 2013.
Elections in 2016 have led to relative calm in the CAR between Muslims and Christians with the UN attempting to keep the peace in many parts of the country.
There has been violence between Mulsim groups in the west of the country, including fighting between the FPRC and the Fulani Union for Peace.
According to the UN, the FPRC has carried out house-to-house searches, killing, looting and abducting Fulani residents in the town of Bria, also in western CAR. Dozens have reportedly been killed and an estimated 20,000 have been displaced.
Four killed by peacekeepers
The UN and other witnesses are reporting that up to four citizens were killed in the town of Bouar after UN peacekeepers opened fire on a crowd who were rushing the UN base.
The dpa news agency reported that residents were seeking refuge following rumors of an impending attack on the town by militants.
"The MINUSCA peacekeepers prevented an incursion by a crowd of civilians heading towards their base," said spokesman Vladimir Moteiro.
"Under the impression that this was an incursion, and since the civilians wanted to get access to the ammunition depot of the base, those who have the responsibility to protect this depot fired into the air," he added.