Bangui: Ten people were killed and 38 wounded today in an outbreak of violence sparked by the death of a motorcycle taxi driver in the capital of the Central African Republic, witnesses said.
The unrest erupted after the driver, a Muslim, was killed for unknown reasons, residents said, sparking clashes in a majority Muslim neighbourhood of Bangui known as PK-5. Most of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, according to a hospital source.
In response to the shooting, UN peacekeepers and French soldiers took up positions in the district, which was the epicentre of unprecedented killings between Christians and Muslims in Bangui between 2013-2014.
CAR descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup ousted longtime leader Francois Bozize, and the impoverished country remains prey to violence between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian "anti-balaka" (anti-machete) militias.
Residents were sent running in terror by Saturday's violence, witnesses said, though by the end of the day the numbers of gunshots heard in the area had decreased sharply.
The transitional government condemned the bloodshed, saying the "useless violence comes as Central Africa in general and the city of Bangui in particular yearns for peace and security."
Though the level of violence has fallen significantly in CAR since last year, the country still has high crime rates fuelled in part by the easy access to weapons left over from the sectarian conflict.