Central African Republic: Four dead in UN Bangui shooting

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UN Minusca peacekeepersImage source, AFP
Image caption,
UN peacekeepers were sent to the CAR in 2014

Four people have been killed during protests against the UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic.

Peacekeepers opened fire when demonstrators tried to force their way into the UN headquarters, says a BBC reporter, who saw bodies being taken away in a police vehicle.

The UN denies using live bullets and says its soldiers only used tear gas.

A group of Central Africans wants the UN mission to withdraw, saying it is failing to protect people.

The peacekeepers were deployed after civil war broke out in 2013 when then-President Francois Bozize was ousted by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.

But the UN has been hit by several allegations that its troops have been sexually abusing children.

A coalition of civil society organisations called on residents of the capital, Bangui, to stay at home in protest at the UN mission in CAR, known by its French acronym, Minusca.

The coalition says Minusca is supposed to protect civilians and tackle armed groups in the city.

"But wherever the UN forces go there is violence," protest organiser Gervais Lakosso told AFP news agency.

As well as the four civilians killed, 14 people were injured in the clashes on Monday, with five peacekeepers among those hurt, according to a Minusca statement.

The BBC's Max Allaroum in Bangui says the deadly shooting took place at the main square in Bangui, not far from the UN headquarters.

The UN soldiers tried first to disperse the protesters by shooting in the air. They then shot at the crowd when it became more agitated and advanced on the building.

Minusca spokesman Vladimir Monteiro told our reporter the UN had only fired of tear gas to disperse the demonstration.

Numerous armed group still operate across the country - both Seleka and Christian self-defence forces set up to tackle them, known as anti-Balaka.

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