By Assed Baig
BANGUI (AA) – At least 29 people have been killed in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), in the last 24 hours, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The violence started Thursday night when Africa Union peacekeepers came under attack from the self-styled Christian militia known as anti-balaka.
On Friday, anti-balaka militants attacked a predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Bangui.
An ICRC official, who did not wish to be named, told Anadolu Agency late Friday that the total number of dead was 29 "at the last count."
He did not give a breakdown of the fatalities.
An AA had counted the bodies of twelve Muslims killed in the anti-balaka attack on the predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Kilometer 5 earlier in the day.
The slain people had wounds caused by machetes in the nick, face and other parts of their bodies.
Local residents told AA the attack occurred at 6:30am and accused the French peacekeepers of failing to protect them.
Kilometer 5 is the strongest standing Muslim suburb in Bangui and its where most Muslims who were displaced from Christian neighborhoods have sought asylum.
On Thursday evening eight African Union peacekeepers were wound in an attack by the anti-balaka militias.
"When we were driving to go back to our barracks, the anti-balaka militants threw a grenade behind our van injuring 8 of our soldiers," Col. Gebril Omar told AA yesterday.
He said two of the injured soldiers need to be operated on.
One of the soldiers, a Chadian, has reportedly succumbed to his wounds.
CAR, a landlocked, mineral-rich country, descended into anarchy in March, when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslims – ousted Christian president François Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
The months since have seen the emergence of self-styled Christian militias, known as the "anti-balaka."
According to UN estimates, more than 400,000 people – nearly ten percent of the country's 4.6 million-strong population – have abandoned their homes as a result of the violence.
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