Peacekeepers fire teargas to stop CAR protesters attacking fleeing Muslims
Friday, February 07, 2014 - 00:37
Feb. 7 - French and African peacekeepers fire teargas to disperse a crowd and prevent them from attacking two trucks carrying Muslims escaping the Central African Republic's capital Bangui. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Two trucks carrying Muslims fleeing violence in Bangui came under attack on Friday as they were trying to catch up with a large convoy of thousands of people making their way to neighboring Chad.
The attacking crowds, who claimed the convoy was carrying weapons and had to be stopped, killed one man and mutilated his body when he fell off a truck, according to witnesses.
African and French soldiers belonging to the International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) fired teargas to disperse those who had gathered.
In the tense atmosphere, angry protesters applauded when a Central African police officer searched a Muslim Chadian man who was the driver of one of the trucks carrying refugees.
The convoy was the latest in an exodus of Muslims from Bangui in the face of attacks by Christian militias, that have seen Muslim neighborhoods abandoned and mosques destroyed, according to Human Rights Watch.
The attacks are reprisals for atrocities committed by Muslim Seleka forces who took power in the country last March.
Abuses by Seleka fighters once they came to power led to mainly Christian self-defense militia springing up.
Chadian special forces troops with armored cars and mounted machine guns guarded the convoy carrying at least 10,000 Muslims, many of whom had come overnight from the town of Mbaike, about 60 miles (90 kilometers) south of Bangui.
Many of Seleka's fighters come from Chad and Sudan, but Chadian officials deny supporting the rebels.
Chadian military officials said on Wednesday they had detained and disarmed 262 fleeing Seleka fighters that had entered Chad, seizing more than 300 weapons, ammunition and a dozen vehicles.
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