Photo: CAR soldiers stabbed a man repeatedly in Public until he was dead
A group of soldiers in the Central African Republic lynched a man they suspected was a rebel minutes after hearing the new president’s promise to restore security at a ceremony to reinstate the divided country’s armed forces.
About 20 uniformed soldiers accused a member of the crowd of having belonged to Seleka – the mostly Muslim rebel group that seized power in a coup last March, before stabbing him repeatedly until he was dead.
A soldier stamped on the lifeless body, which was then dragged nearly naked through the streets as residents looked on and took photographs.
Violence: A Central African Army soldier stabs the man who was accused of joining the ousted Seleka rebel group
Ten minutes earlier the new interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, stood just 20m away where she addressed a crowd of at least 1,000 soldiers.
The Army effectively disappeared during nine months of Seleka rule.
She told the gathering at a training ground in the capital Bangui: ‘Within a month, I would like to fully secure the greater part of the country and I aim to stick to my word.’
Seleka disbanded after Samba-Panza’s inauguration last month and is deeply resented by the Christian majority after months of lootings and killings.
Members of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel
A soldier stabs the lifeless body, which was then dragged nearly naked through the streets
The violence spawned the creation of Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militias, meaning ‘anti-machete’ in the local Sango language, and more sectarian blood-letting.
About one million people, a quarter of the former French colony’s population, have fled their homes.
The presence of 1,600 French soldiers and 5,000 African troops has so far failed to stop the tit-for-tat violence which the United Nations says has already killed more than 2,000 people.
Newly enlisted FACA soldiers kick the face of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui
Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch in Bangui, tweeted that the corpse of the lynched man had been burned.
He posted a photograph showing a man holding up a severed limb next to a bonfire, as an armed French soldier gestured in the background.
Samba-Panza, appointed by parliament two weeks ago after coup leader Michel Djotodia stepped down under intense international pressure for failing to stop the violence, made clear it would take time to restore order.