When Catherine Samba Panza, recently elected interim President of the Central African Republic, stepped up to address the national army on 5 February 2014, she issued a call for unity in a country on the verge of civil war. Almost as soon as the president had made her exit, there was an accusatory shout from someone in the ranks of the army, addressed to a man in the crowd. The cry was taken up by others, who rushed upon the man and pulled him to the ground. What followed was a protracted lynching, during which the impetus was broken for a moment when a gendarme from the ranks of the Burundi peacekeeping contingent stepped forward to intervene. Then he too was surrounded, and had to be pulled to safety by fellow officers who judged it too dangerous to do anything other than stand and watch. Also watching were several international journalists and photographers, and local civilians with their children, some of whom filmed it on mobile phones (Central African Republic: Justice Needed for Lynching 2014).
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