Central African Republic diamond war death toll climbs
AFP reports a recent outbreak of fighting between rival armed groups in the Central African Republic – one of the poorest countries in the world – vying for control over diamond mines left 43 dead, an army source said Thursday.
The toll originally stood at 30 following week-long clashes in the central town of Bria which erupted on September 11. Officials said the clashes are between the Ronga and the Goula, two rival ethnic groups who have feuded over the region’s diamond mines for years.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960 and has endured several coups and a notorious period under a self-declared emperor, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who headed a brutal regime. Classified as a failed state the gross national income per head is a mere $450.
AFP reports President Francois Bozize, responding to media criticism over authorities’ response to the conflict, told the national assembly on Wednesday: “No one provoked the Ronga and the Goula into fighting each other. I am not responsible for the fighting.”