Central African Republic protest leaves 4 civilians dead and 14 injured
The UN forces rejected the protests as a "smear campaign" against the peacekeeping force and threatened "international criminal prosecution". Photograph: (AFP)
Protests against United Nations peacekeepers in Central African Republic turned violent on Monday, leaving four civilians dead and 14 wounded.
The UN said five of its peacekeepers were among those wounded in demonstrations across the capital city of Bangui.
The agency condemned the gunfire and looting reported during mass protests called by a coalition of civil society groups.
Protesters are demanding the withdrawal of the more than 10,000-strong United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) force over alleged failures to stop the rise of armed militias.
Gervais Lakosso, the coordinator of the civil society coalition calling for the UN to withdraw, said Monday that "wherever the UN forces go there is violence". "Civil society believes MINUSCA has shown passivity and complicity," he added.
The statement said the force "intervened from the early hours of Monday in the capital to dismantle the barricades erected by hostile demonstrators".
President of CAR Red Cross, Antoine Mbai-Bogo told Reuters that three protesters were killed and six injured in violence.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has called for calm in the capital and said that patrols would be strengthened.
The MINUSCA statement rejected the protests as a "smear campaign" against the peacekeeping force, and threatened "international criminal prosecution" for those accused of violence against the mission.
According to Reuters, MINUSCA workers have been accused of sexual assault and of not doing more for the people of CAR.
The Central African Republic has been in turmoil since 2013 due to conflict between Muslim Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka Christian militants.
(WION with inputs from agencies)