GRAPHIC WARNING: Contains images which some viewers may find disturbing.
Christian and Muslim mobs went on lynching sprees on Monday as French forces began disarming fighters in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. At least 459 people have been killed in the city since Thursday, according to figures from the local Red Cross cited by Reuters.
Krista Larson, a reporter with the Associated Press, described how one man who was walking with his son was singled out because of his white robe, traditionally worn by Muslims:
They descended upon the man in a frenzy. His terrified son broke away, and fled on foot, leaving his father as the knife-wielding mob clutched him.
The mob insisted he had served as a general in Seleka, the alliance of mostly Muslim rebel groups from the north that overthrew the government in March and has been accused of carrying out atrocities against Christians.
The man was saved by French troops, Larson reported:
Soldiers fired into the air as a warning. "I am a merchant! I am a merchant!," the man cried as the French pulled him away, his back covered in dirt and his gown ripped off. His son was also being protected by French troops.
First published December 9 2013, 8:59 AM