A Human Rights Watch report out Thursday says: “(Muslim) People whose families have peacefully lived in the country for centuries are being forced to leave.”
ANKARA - If the targeted violence continues in the Central African Republic (CAR), there will be no Muslims left in the country, said Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday.
HRW warned that French and African peacekeepers need to take urgent steps to protect the remaining Muslim population in Central African Republic (CAR) in Wednesday’s report.
“People whose families have peacefully lived in the country for centuries are being forced to leave,” Bouckaert added.
CAR descended into anarchy in March 2013 when Seleka rebels – which stated out as a mainly Muslim group of militias – ousted Francois Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in a 2003 coup, and installed Michel Djotodia as an interim president.
Thousands of people have been killed, millions of people have been displaced, and tens of thousands have fled the country to neighboring Cameroon and Chad, since the conflict erupted.
HRW said the mainly Christian anti-Balaka militias are increasingly organized and using language that suggests their intent is to eliminate Muslim residents from the Central African Republic.
According to the report, thousands of Muslim families from towns with sizable Muslim populations fled horrific anti-Balaka attacks in 2014.
Only one mosque and 500 Muslims remain in Yaloqe province of CAR, which had a Muslim population of 30,000 and eight mosques prior to the conflict, the report said: “All former Muslim strongholds in Bangui – are now ghost towns, devoid of Muslim residents. Some anti-Balaka militants said that they would kill any Muslims remaining in these neighborhoods,” the report continued.
The report said that Christians claiming the looted and abandoned homes and marking them as the property of anti-Balaka leaders.
Armed men within Muslim neighborhoods, including some remaining Seleka fighters, have attempted to fight back, but have been unsuccessful in warding off the assaults, report added.
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