10 Dec 2013

He lies motionless on the road’: peacekeeping soldier shot in CAR – video

Something odd about today. Not least the call from the French military saying all arrangements with journalists to film with them here are cancelled until further notice.

So we left our hotel for the airport this morning a little after 8am.

After a colleague was lucky not to be killed yesterday by a mob – very lucky – we’d decided only to operate on the streets close to French soldiers, very close.

But where were they? All yesterday’s roadblocks gone. The big plan to disarm the militias suspended after one day it seemed.

Then came the news. Francois Hollande will visit the Central African Republic (CAR). Or get off a plane, stand at the razor-wired, secured airport, and fly off again.

We felt a little relieved. It was not a security issue on the streets but a presidential visit that was suspending operations.

Pre News refresh player – this is the default player for the C4 news site – please do not delete. Ziad

Just as we digested this information a vehicle crammed with African peacekeeping troops from the UN Fomac operation cut up our vehicle and halted just ahead.

As our cameraman Stuart Webb filmed (see video above) we witnessed them jump out and open fire. There is a large volley of shots before anyone appeared to take up firing positions or cover.

Almost at once one of the soldiers falls, apparently shot, a few metres forward of our position. He lies motionless on the road. Their target appeared to be civilians who had run up a side street from the main airport road.

I detected no incoming fire and in the chaotic way they opened up it is at least possible he either shot himself or was shot by one of his own men.

We got back into the car and reversed at speed to exit back to the hotel.

The Fomac casualty comes as news that two French army peacekeepers have been shot dead. It’s not clear where, but they’ve deployed in only two cities, the northern town of Bossangoa which is reportedly calm, and here in the capital Bangui, which is violent.

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3 reader comments

  1. Tom says:

    Fantastic reporti. Thank you Alex and co. But be careful. You can’t file reports if you’re dead!

  2. Edward Hubbard says:

    At the beginning of this report, Alex Thomson informs the viewers that Channel 4 News has taken the decision to show a film of someone being killed.

    Later, we are told that Christian mobs have been burning Korans but Channel 4 News has decided not to show the footage.

    Is this because Channel 4 truly believes that the destruction of religious texts is more shocking than the destrution of human life? Or is it because Channel 4 believes that while most of its viewers are capable of looking at the world as it is, Muslims are like children who need to be protected from reality?

  3. stewart says:

    we fought world war 2 to end genocide.70 years on nothing has changed, credit to channel 4 for the only news organisation for highlighting this horror in the central african republic while the rest of the world turns a blind eye,just appalling.

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