Fighting between militiamen and traders broke out on Wednesday evening and continued on Thursday in the predominantly Muslim PK5 district of Bangui, in which at least eleven people were killed, according to the district imam and two security sources.
« Sixteen bodies were brought to the mosque, » Awad Al Karim, imam of the Ali Babolo mosque, told AFP that the traders took up arms to oppose the taxation imposed by vigilante groups. that reign in the neighborhood.
Two security sources report at least eleven and fourteen dead respectively, without further details.
Neither the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) nor the Central African authorities control the PK5, and no official assessment of the clashes was available on Thursday.
“The fighting continues, we dispatched a rapid reaction force to the scene. Part of the market was burnt, as well as some vehicles, ”said Minusca spokesman Bili Aminou Alao.
Bursts of automatic weapons and explosions rang out in the CAR capital on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, an AFP journalist from a neighboring neighborhood said.
« Between 40 and 50 shops were burned, as well as four to five houses, » Colonel Patrick Bidilou Niabode, director general of Central African civil protection, told AFP.
The volunteer firefighters he supervised managed to put out two fires that were spreading in the markets, but had to abandon two burning houses due to the heavy firefighting nearby, according to Colonel Bidilou.
The PK5 has been in the grip of sporadic violence since 2014. It is in this district that many Muslims of Bangui had taken refuge after the clashes between Seleka rebels and anti-balaka groups which ravaged the capital after the fall of President François Bozizé in 2013.
The security situation remains extremely precarious in the Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries in the world despite its abundance of natural resources.