BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Peacekeepers in Central African Republic opened fire on a crowd in the capital on Friday to disrupt anti-Muslim violence, injuring six people including four who were under 16, witnesses and officials said.
The incident began when a Muslim man tried to carry out a transaction at a bank but was attacked by an angry mob. A bank official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said the man was trying to transfer money to neighboring Cameroon, which has taken in thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Central African Republic this year alone.
Burundian peacekeepers responded to break up the attack, witnesses said. An Associated Press reporter saw one of the wounded, 19-year-old Frederic Tadje, undergoing treatment at a hospital. His mother, Therese Feikouma, said Tadje sells phone credit near where the violence took place.
"We were warned by those who found my son unconscious," she said. "They took his phone to call us and tell us that he was in the hospital and had been shot." Central African Republic descended into chaos one year ago when a mostly Muslim rebel coalition overthrew the president and committed widespread atrocities. Since the rebels' leader, Michel Djotodia, left power under immense international pressure in January, the Muslim minority population has been targeted in retaliatory violence.
On Thursday, Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, warned Thursday that hatred between Muslim and Christian communities in Central African Republic was "at a terrifying level" and that the country remained in a state of near-anarchy, meaning even those caught carrying bloody machetes and holding severed body parts are not arrested.