Central African Republic: Muslims attack Christian neighbourhood in latest sectarian violence

Islamic militants attacked a mainly Christian neighbourhood in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) yesterday after a Muslim was killed and his body dumped near the airport.

CAR has been beset by violence since the majority-Muslim Séléka drove out President Francois Bozizé in a coup in March 2013.Reuters

At least 21 people have been killed and about 100 others injured in the violence in Bangui.

Muslims left their stronghold in the Islamic third district of Bangui and attacked the largely Christian fifth district. The militia used automatic guns and grenades and, despite the presence of the UN's peacekeeping force, little was done to stop the fighting.

The violence was caused by the anti-balaka Christian militant group, the Muslim Séléka group and supporters of the former president Francois Bozizé, said the security minister, Dominique Said Paguindji.

"These armed groups don't subscribe to a logic of disarmament and want to split the country," he said.

"All of these people have the same interest in wanting to see the transition ruined and the coming elections halted."

CAR has experienced religious and ethnic tension for more than two years after the Muslim Séléka rebels seized power in the majority Christian country in 2013. Two subsequent years of violence has killed thousands of people and displaced many more.

However this latest violence is some of the worst the city has experienced this year, according to the BBC's Max Allaroum in Bangui.

CAR's presidential and parliamentary elections are due on the 18 October and will replace the current interim government. However preparations are behind and Catherine Samba-Panza, the head of the interim government, has said they may be postponed.