anti-Balaka

Fewer Than 1,000 Muslims Left in Central African Republic Capital

John Nduna, general secretary of the Geneva based Action by Churches Together (ACT- International). RNS photo: Fredrick Nzwili.

As the number of Muslims in Bangui, the Central African Republic capital, dwindles to an estimated 900, the head of a global alliance of churches has urged tackling the conflict from a political rather than a religious angle if the Muslim exodus is to be reversed.

“It is very unfortunate the Muslims have to flee,” said John Nduna, general secretary of the Geneva-based Action by Churches Together, or ACT International. “It is very sad this is happening.”

The alliance is one of the agencies providing humanitarian assistance in the country, where chaos erupted last year after the mainly Muslim rebels toppled the government.

The Seleka rebels looted, raped, and killed mainly Christian civilians, prompting the formation of an equally brutal pro-Christian anti-Balaka (anti-machete) militia.

Violence Against Muslims Soars in Central African Republic

Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, a Senegalese Muslim leader with Inter-faith Action for Peace in Africa. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili

African religious leaders are appealing for an end to violence against Muslims in the Central African Republic as thousands flee to neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

In recent weeks, a pro-Christian militia known as anti-Balaka (or anti-machete) has killed and mutilated Muslims as they have tried to leave the capital Bangui by the truckload.

Muslims had enjoyed some protection when Michel Djotodia, the country’s first interim Muslim president, was in power. Djotodia resigned under pressure in January and Catherine Samba-Panza was appointed the interim president.

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