Ex-rebels loot, burn down CAR villages
05 November 2013, 13:37
Bangui - Armed members of the Central African Republic's
former rebel coalition looted and burned down about 100 houses last week,
African military officials said on Monday, the latest unrest to hit the
chronically unstable country.
"The village of Vacap and parts of the village of
Yongoro went up in flames," an officer of the African-led stabilisation
force MISCA told AFP on condition of anonymity. "Villagers' property was
destroyed by fire. They all fled to the scrubland."
He could not say whether there were any casualties or
wounded, after returning from the area. Both villages are located in the west
of the impoverished country.
The landlocked nation has been mired in chaos since the
Seleka coalition of rebels ousted longtime president Francois Bozize in March.
A new government was put in place and Seleka was disbanded
in name but continues to operate as a proto-militia in the region.
The country has seen an increase in clashes between the
former rebel coalition that led the coup, who are Muslim, and local self-defence
groups formed by rural residents who are Christian, in common with around 80
percent of the population.
Vacap resident Norbert Doui said former rebels began raiding
his village on Friday around 11:00.
"They started shooting into the air, smashed entrance
doors, pillaged our property before setting fire to the houses," he said.
Colonel Adam Nassir, an officer with the Central African
security forces, said the assailants were looking for a "marabout", a
Muslim religious leader, whom they accuse of backing the local self-defence
Colonel Nassir said the attackers had "received
reliable information that the marabout who would vaccinate the [members of the
self-defence group] to make them invincible" lived in the area.