Make example of CAR lynching culprits: UN

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iol pic afr car lynching AFP - GRAPHIC CONTENT - Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel in Bangui. Picture: ISSOUF SANOGO

Bangui - The UN envoy to the Central African Republic called on Thursday on the conflict-torn country to probe the public lynching of a suspected ex-rebel by soldiers and make an example of the culprits.

Babacar Gaye said the killing was "unacceptable" and "must be properly investigated and the culprits punished and made an example of".

The soldiers lynched the man immediately after a military ceremony in the capital Bangui on Wednesday, beating and stabbing him before dragging his lifeless body through the streets, dismembering him and setting him on fire.

The gruesome attack, widely captured on camera, happened mere moments after new interim president Catherine Samba Panza spoke of her pride in seeing the country's armed forces contribute to national security again.

Gaye, the UN special envoy to CAR, condemned the atmosphere of impunity in the country that allowed "a man to be attacked in broad daylight and his body desecrated."

Asked about the inaction of African Union forces, who were present during the lynching but failed to intervene, Gaye said: "Just because they are authorised to act does not mean that they should immediately engage in an armed confrontation. Lethal force should be used with restraint".

The lynching underscored the ongoing chaos in the country since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance seized power last March in the majority Christian country.

French and African troops have been struggling to quell the unrest since receiving the green light from the United Nations Security Council in early December.

The violence has displaced around a million people and is believed to have left thousands dead. - AFP

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