Central African Republic crisis: MSF aid workers killed

Children carry furniture as they walk past a burning car, set on fire by its owner before leaving the PK12 district, outside of Bangui, on April 27, 2014 Looters moved in after Muslims were evacuated from Bangui's PK-12 district over the weekend

Three aid workers are among 22 people killed in a rebel attack on a clinic in northern Central African Republic, officials have said.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has condemned the killing of three of its local staff and says it is re-examining its operations.

Fifteen of the dead were local chiefs, according to the area's former MP.

The attack has been blamed on the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, whose 2013 seizure of power sparked the crisis.

They were accused of numerous attacks on members of the CAR's Christian majority and since their leader was forced to step down as president in January, militias have been taking revenge against the Muslim community.

A guide to the CAR crisis - in 60 seconds

On Sunday, peacekeepers escorted more than 1,200 Muslims out of the capital, Bangui, for their own safety.

They were some of the last remaining Muslims in the city.

CAR's religious make-up

  • Christians - 50%
  • Muslims - 15%
  • Indigenous beliefs - 35%

Source: Index Mundi

After they were evacuated, looters descended on the PK-12 district they had left to strip houses and businesses, and even the mosque.

"We didn't want the Muslims here and we don't want their mosque here any more either,'' looter Guy Richard told the AP news agency.

Former MP Gilles Xavier Nguembassa told the Reuters news agency that Seleka rebels targeted the clinic in the northern town of Nanga Boguila about 450 km (280 miles) north of Bangui, looking for money, as local chiefs were holding a meeting there.

"Fifteen of the local chiefs were killed on the spot," he said, citing witnesses to Saturday's attack.

MSF's mission head in the country, Stefano Argenziano, said that key staff had been withdrawn from the clinic in "reaction to this unconscionable act".

"We are also examining whether it is feasible to continue operations in other areas," he said.

The crisis has led to "religious cleansing" according to human rights groups, with Muslims fleeing southern areas for the north, as well as neighbouring countries such as Chad and Cameroon.

Around a quarter of the country's 4.6 million have been forced from their homes.

There are some 5,000 African Union and 2,000 French troops in CAR but they have failed to halt the bloodshed.

The UN Security Council has approved plans to deploy a force of around 12,000 but they are not expected for several months.


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