The Red Cross has revealed over 115 people were killed by Christian extremists in the Central African Republic after several days of armed conflict.
The killings, including the deaths of six UN peacekeepers, occurred from May 7-9, ‘marking the deadliest month for the UN mission MINUSCA since it began in 2014.’
A previous death toll carried out by the Red Cross had grossly underestimated the casualty rate in CAR.
According to Al Jazeera, ‘a senior UN official had previously reported 26 civilian deaths’ – a far cry from the 115 bodies discovered last week.
Antoine Mbao Bogo, the president of the aid group’s local branch, told the Reuters news agency that those killed had “died in various ways”, including from knives, clubs and bullet wounds.
There is much difficulty ascertaining the casualty rate in the country due to the spread of the ongoing violence and the remoteness of the locations.
The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis called for a ceasefire between the warring factions during his weekly Sunday prayer at the Vatican.
“I am close to the population and the bishops and all those who work for the good of the people and the peaceful co-existence.
“I pray for the deceased and the wounded and renew my appeal: May the guns be silenced and the goodwill for dialogue prevail to give the country peace and development,” Pope Francis said.
According to Diana Corner, UN deputy special representative, ‘This is the first time we have seen a major outbreak of this scale.‘
Understanding the CAR Conflict
Members of the mainly Muslim rebel alliance, Séléka, overthrew Francois Bozizé’s government in 2013. In response to the coup, groups of Christian fighters, called anti-balaka, began killing Muslims, deepening the divide between Christians and Muslims in the country.