Ten killed, 38 wounded in Central Africa violence

A wounded man is carried into the General Hospital in Bangui on September 26, 2015 after unknown assailants opened fire in the PK5 district, a neighbourhood with a majority of Muslim residents.
A wounded man is carried into the General Hospital in Bangui on September 26, 2015 after unknown assailants opened fire in the PK5 district, a neighbourhood with a majority of Muslim residents. PHOTO: AFP

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AFP) - Ten people were killed and 38 wounded on Saturday (Sept 26) in an outbreak of violence sparked by the death of a motorcycle taxi driver in the capital of the Central African Republic, witnesses said.

The unrest erupted after the driver, a Muslim, was killed for unknown reasons, residents said, sparking clashes in a majority Muslim neighbourhood of Bangui known as PK-5. Most of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, according to a hospital source.

In response to the shooting, UN peacekeepers and French soldiers took up positions in the district, which was the epicentre of unprecedented killings between Christians and Muslims in Bangui between 2013 and 2014.

Central African Republic descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup ousted longtime leader Francois Bozize, and the impoverished country remains prey to violence between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian "anti-balaka" (anti-machete) militias.

Residents were sent running in terror by Saturday's violence, witnesses said, though by the end of the day the numbers of gunshots heard in the area had decreased sharply.

The transitional government condemned the bloodshed, saying the "useless violence comes as Central Africa in general and the city of Bangui in particular yearns for peace and security."

Though the level of violence has fallen significantly in Central African Republic since last year, the country still has high crime rates fuelled in part by the easy access to weapons left over from the sectarian conflict.