At least 22 people including three staff members of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres were killed during a weekend attack by gunmen on a Central African hospital, in the latest atrocity to hit the violence-plagued country.
The brutal attack in the northwest was blamed on the mostly Muslim rebels known as the Seleka, whose coup in March last year unleashed a vicious cycle of sectarian violence.
“Armed men from the ex-Seleka and of Fula ethnicity on Saturday afternoon attacked a hospital supported by MSF in the region of Nanga Boguila, killing at least 22 people, including three Central African employees of MSF and leaving a dozen wounded,” an officer from the African-led MISCA peacekeeping force told AFP on Monday.
MSF confirmed the death of its three employees, without giving further details.
The gunmen had stormed into the building as local representatives and MSF employees held a meeting, the MISCA officer said.
“The assailants first opened fire at a group of people, gunning down four of them. Then they went to the hospital where they killed 15 other people and three members of MSF.
“They took computers and several other assets, breaking down doors probably in search for cash,” added the officer.
“France strongly condemns the deadly attack perpetrated on April 27 against the medical centre,” said French foreign ministry spokesman Roman Nadal on Monday.
“The perpetrators of this intolerable attack must be brought to justice,” he said, while adding his praise for MSF’s work “in difficult conditions and under threat to their lives”.