'Islamic state' leaflets trigger uproar in CAR town

By Sylvestre Krock

BANGUI – Leaflets calling for the creation of an Islamic state in the northern Central African town of Ndele have triggered uproar among residents on Thursday.

The leaflets are believed to have been distributed by a group calling itself the "Association of Revolutionary Youth", according to an Anadolu Agency reporter in the town.

In the handbill, the group calls on humanitarian agency staffs and government workers in Ndele to leave in preparation for the establishment of an Islamic state in the town, which lies east of the Bamingui-Bangoran National Park.

But the move drew mixed reactions from Muslim and Christian residents.

President of the Ndele local council Kassara Aziza (a Muslim) denounced the handbills and underlined strong ties between Muslims and Christians in the town.

Nguerebanda David, a retired Christian teacher from the town, described calls for the independence of the northern part of Central African Republic (CAR) and the creation of an Islamic state as a "passing summer`s cloud".

CAR descended into anarchy in March 2013 when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Francois Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in a 2003 coup. The rebels later installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, as interim president.

In the months since, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between Christian anti-balaka militias and former seleka fighters.

Violence against Muslims has intensified since Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian, was elected interim president in January.

Christians, who constitute the majority of CAR`s population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions.

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