Potential Hot Spots: March 20, 2003


The 100 Chadian troops (who are not wearing CEMAC peacekeeper badges) set up two roadblocks in central Bangui, where they checked the identification of the few motorists on the roads. They were also disarming "false" security personnel (youths involved in massive looting armed with weapons stolen from the presidential residence). By evening, dozens of vehicles previously believed to belong to the "liberators" were seized and parked near Chadian checkpoints before being returned to their owners.

Rebel soldiers guarding the stadium said they arrested and executed six men for attempting to rob the nearby post office and violating the dusk-to-dawn curfew.
The coup was fairly bloodless - the director of Bangui's main hospital told a privately owned radio station that nearly 50 people were killed in the attack and the looting afterwards, while another 100 were wounded, 60 of them seriously.

Crowds in Bangui looted 1,800 tons of food from the UN World Food Program warehouses during the coup attempt. The international NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) also reported that the situation for about 30,000 northern CAR refugees who have fled to the south of neighboring Chad "is becoming more precarious by the day" since the March 15 coup. The UN estimates that at least 200,000 people have been internally displaced, since fighting started in October 2002. - Adam Geibel


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