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Chad rejects CAR shooting claims

Chadian soldiers sit with guns on a vehicle as they drive in Bangui on 4 April 2014Chadian soldiers are preparing to leave CAR over the row

Chad has rejected UN accusations that its troops killed 30 people and injured many more in an unprovoked attack in a market in the Central African Republic.

In a statement, Chad’s government expressed its indignation and said the allegation was “defamatory”.

On Friday the UN said an investigation found Chadian troops had “opened fire on the population without any provocation” in Bangui on 29 March.

Chad has said it will pull its peacekeepers out of CAR in protest.

The UN inquiry said Chadian troops fired indiscriminately on civilians inside a busy market in the capital in the attack .

Thirty people were killed and another 300 people were injured in the shooting, it said.

Wave of violence

The troops, who were reportedly on a mission to evacuate some of the city’s remaining Muslim inhabitants, said they were attacked first by militias.

In the year since the Muslim Seleka rebels ousted the CAR government last March, the country has been engulfed by a wave of religious violence.

Injured child in hospital, pic from December 2013 courtesy of Amnesty International

Why are Muslims fleeing their homes in CAR?

Under regional pressure, the country’s first Muslim leader, President Michel Djotodia, stepped down in January but attacks have not stopped.

Thousands of Muslims, a minority in CAR, have been fleeing to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon after being targeted by Christian militias, known as anti-balakas.

Chad has contributed roughly 850 soldiers to a contingent of 6,000 African Union peacekeepers tasked with ending the bloodshed.


Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN’s human rights office, said initial investigations appeared to show that the troops involved in the incident on 29 March were not part of the AU mission.

Chad, which neighbours CAR to the north and has a predominantly Muslim population, also has soldiers in the country helping with the evacuation of Chadian citizens caught up in the chaos.

The troops arrived in pick-up trucks in the northern PK-12 suburb, one of two areas in Bangui where there are still some Muslim inhabitants threatened by the anti-balakas, Mr Colville said.

“As soon as the convoy reached the market area… it reportedly opened fire on the population without any provocation,” he said in a statement.

Members of a Christian militia train in Bangui, Central African Republic, on 24 February 2014Anti-balaka militiamen training in Bangui

Mr Colville told the BBC it was unclear why the troops had opened fire on the general public.

“It’s appalling to shoot in a crowded market place,” he said.

Chad’s government dismissed the accusations as “defamatory and tendentious”, according to a government statement sent to AFP news agency.

“The government of the Republic of Chad expresses its surprise and indignation faced with the purported investigation published by the United Nations Human Rights Commission,” it said.

Chad has said its peacekeeping forces will remain in CAR while the details of the withdrawal were worked out.

The ousted president of CAR, Francois Bozize, told the BBC last year that Chadian troops had helped drive him from office, which Chad has denied.

The African Union contingent in the country is backed by some 2,000 French troops.

Map showing the location of the Central African Republic and the countries that border it

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