CAR officer shoots accused wife-killer to halt riot

BANGUI, Nov 25 (Reuters) - A Central African Republic presidential guard executed a Malian citizen in a hospital on Tuesday to end a riot by a crowd seeking to lynch the man who was accused of killing his local wife, witnesses said.

The enraged crowd, which had blocked the main avenues of the capital Bangui for several hours, only dispersed after they were shown the bullet-ridden body of Malian Amoudou Samassa, shot by the guard officer who used his automatic rifle.

Witnesses said Samassa had earlier stabbed to death his estranged local wife Aminatou Miwada in the hairdresser's where she worked, provoking a riot by several hundred people carrying stones, clubs and iron bars, who caught and beat the assassin.

The injured man was rescued by armed local police and gendarmes who took him to Bangui's community hospital, where they were forced to fire into the air and use tear gas to stop the crowd from breaking into the clinic and lynching him.

Called out to quell the swelling protest in the city, members of the elite presidential guard of President Francois Bozize arrived on the scene and tried to negotiate, but failed to persuade the angry protesters to go home.

According to witnesses, one guard officer, Lt. Jean-Claude Ngaikoisset, finally told the crowd: "If the death of this criminal is the only thing you're asking for to clear these avenues, then I see no objection".

They said Ngaikoisset entered the hospital, shot the injured Malian and brought his body out to show the crowd, ending the riot. The bodies of the wife and husband, both Muslims, were immediately buried.

There was no immediate statement from the government.

Last year, New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the presidential guard and other government security forces of killing hundreds of civilians in anti-rebel operations carried out in the north of Central African Republic since 2005. (Reporting by Paul-Marin Ngoupana; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)