By Clotaire Mbao Ben-Seb, Communications Officer Caritas Central Africa
Residents of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, have been living through days of a deafening concert of gunfire: Kalashnikovs are the tenors, submachine guns are the sopranos and the mortars and rockets are the bass.
People stayed awake hiding under the Mango trees until three in the morning to avoid being hit. There have been several deaths and homes have been ransacked.
At a community hospital in Bangui, they have 14 patients with gunshot wounds. Six needed surgery. One of them, the son of former President Kolingba, received a bullet that went through his chest and will need specialist care.
At the another clinic, the Friendship Hospital, five patients were transferred to trauma care. Over 200 people filled the hallways and hide beneath the Mango trees in the grounds in search of safety.
Bodies are being found in homes. The bodies of a mother, Bagaza Eveline, and her three children were found in their home, killed by a rocket attack. They were buried in a makeshift grave near my place.
Seleka fighters move through the city like a hurricane. Stores on the outskirts in Boye-Rabé were ransacked. The office of Bishop Aloys Kobes school complex and a school were not spared.
Jonas, the Sacristan said, “They came at 5pm. They threatened the sisters if they refused to open. One climbed over the wall. Sister Marguerite was trembling with fear.”
“I hid in the library. The door was smashed open and they pointed their weapons at me and shouted at me for money. They asked if I had a car, motorcycle and a phone. I had nothing. So they took a computer and a printer. It didn’t seem like a search for weapons,” he said.
The property of Muslims have not been spared (Seleka identify themselves as Muslims). Osmane, a trader in the market from Chad, said, “We are traders. We have no weapons. It is organised looting, murder and assassination. When will the ordeal end.”
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