10+ dead in Bangui as French defence minister visits central Africa
At least 10 people were killed in the Central African republic (CAR) capital, Bangui, this weekend, as French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian started a tour of the region to discuss the crisis in the violence-racked country.
Fresh violence erupted in the centre of Bangui on Saturday evening with five people killed for unknown reasons, followed by another three in clashes between Christians and Muslims.
Another was killed by soldiers from the African intervention force, Misca, according to witnesses, and another was lynched on Sunday morning, according to Peter Bouckaert of the HUman Rights Watch NGO.
Residents say that a Christian woman was killed by a Muslim on Saturday evening and that her murderer was then captured and killed and his body burnt in front of the local council office.
Large-scale looting took place until Misca troops took over from French troops at midday Sunday.
Le Drian was expected in Chad on Sunday afternoon to meet President Idriss Déby, a major player in the region, to discuss the situation in the CAR and the French presence in the Sahel, where both countries are fighting Islamist insurgent groups.
He was to go on to Congo to meet President Denis Sasso Nguesso, who is a mediator in the CAR, before going to Bangui on Wednesday.
It will be his third visit to the country since France sent troops there on 5 December.