News / Africa

UN Investigators: Chadian Soldiers Fired on Civilians in CAR

FILE - Chadian troops escort Muslim residents from Bangui and Mbaiki, Feb. 7, 2014.
FILE - Chadian troops escort Muslim residents from Bangui and Mbaiki, Feb. 7, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
An investigation by U.N. human rights monitors has found that on March 29, Chadian soldiers fired on civilians in the Central African Republic's capital, killing and wounding dozens.  The investigators say the soldiers were likely on a mission to evacuate Muslims from a volatile area.  

Information gathered by the U.N. investigation team shows soldiers from the Chadian national army entered the C.A.R. capital, Bangui, in several pick-up vehicles on March 29.  The investigators say the soldiers went to the neighborhood known as PK12, one of two main districts where thousands of Muslims are virtually trapped.

U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville says several sources have told the investigating team the Chadian force had entered Bangui to extract remaining Chadians and other Muslim inhabitants.  He says the soldiers apparently were trying to save these people from attacks by Christian anti-balaka militia.

“As soon as the convoy of the Chadian National Army reached the PK12 market area around 3:00 p.m., it allegedly opened fire on the population without any provocation.  As people fled in all directions in panic, the soldiers continued to fire indiscriminately.  At the time of the shooting, the market was full of many people, including many young girls and women buying and selling produce," said Colville.

The human rights team says the Chadian force’s action appears to have been totally disproportionate as they were shooting in a crowded market full of unarmed civilians.

Preliminary findings put the number of those killed at around 30, with more than 300 seriously wounded, including children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and elderly people.  The investigators concluded these people were an easy mark as they were less able to run for their lives.

Most of the wounded and some of the dead were taken to two medical centers in Bangui.  Colville says the investigators interviewed survivors there and also spoke to people in the neighborhood where the shootings took place.

He says in a VOA interview that the Chadian soldiers were not part of MISCA, the African Union-led peacekeeping force in Central African Republic.  He says they were part of Chad’s regular national army.

“There have been Chadian soldiers earlier as well as now operating inside C.A.R.  In many cases, they have saved lives.  They have evacuated both people of Chadian nationality and also other Muslims out to Chad.  I think we should note that in many cases they would have saved lives by doing that," said Colville.

Colville notes MISCA is composed of soldiers from several African nationalities, including Chadians, Congolese, Rwandans and Burundians.  He says the shooting spree in the market was stopped when Congolese MISCA forces arrived and intervened.

Chad has announced it plans to withdraw around 850 of its troops from MISCA, citing an allegedly malicious campaign targeting its soldiers.  Chad’s withdrawal is seen as a major blow to U.N. efforts to deploy a force of 10,000 soldiers in the C.A.R. to end sectarian violence in the country.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Not Again from: Canada
April 04, 2014 6:01 PM
Given that you mention the religeous affiliation of victimes when they are Muslim; one can only speculate that given that the religious affiliation of the market victims was not mentioned, can we speculate that they were of the Christian religion? While those trapped was reported as Muslims; and the Chadian army's religeous affiliation is Muslim? Much the same as the problem the UN HR org has, it rarely if ever mentions the victimization of Christians in many of the major ongoing conflicts around the World, most of them in the Islamist regions of conflict.
It would be much better, that religeous affiliations were never reported, all victims are victims, or they allways be reported without exceptions.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs