Rebels targeted ethnic Fulanis in Central African Republic town

Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:47am GMT

By Joe Bavier

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The United Nations' top genocide official said on Friday he had reports that militia fighters in Central African Republic hunted down and massacred members of the Fulani ethnic group during violence that killed 85 civilians this week.

Clashes erupted on Monday in Bria, a town about 600 km (370 miles) northeast of the capital Bangui, between rival rebel groups the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) and the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).

In a statement, Adama Dieng, the U.N.'s special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said the FPRC reportedly singled out ethnic Fulani in the town, carrying out house-to-house searches, killing, looting and abducting residents.

The UPC is largely composed of Fulani, a group of historically nomadic herders found across West and Central Africa.

FPRC fighters also entered hospital buildings and prevented wounded Fulani from receiving medical treatment.

In addition to the dead, another 76 people were wounded and nearly 11,000 displaced by the violence, Dieng said. Fighting between the FPRC and UPC also broke out in the town of Bambari.

“If carried out in a widespread or systematic manner, such acts could constitute crimes under international law that can be prosecuted before national or international courts," Dieng said.

Both the FPRC and UPC are former members of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance that united to oust then-President Francois Bozize in 2013.   Continued...

United Nations Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide and Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng (R) addresses a news conference at the U.N. base in Juba April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Carl Odera
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