C. African minister angered by relocation of Muslims

By Nacer Talal, Sunday, April 27, 2014

The evacuation of the last group of Muslims from Bangui's neighborhood PK12 was met on Sunday with anger from Health Minister of the Central African Republic Marguerite Samba.

The evacuation of the last group of Muslims from Bangui's neighborhood PK12 was met on Sunday with anger from Health Minister of the Central African Republic Marguerite Samba.

BANGUI – The evacuation of the last group of Muslims from Bangui's neighborhood PK12 was met on Sunday with anger from Health Minister of the Central African Republic Marguerite Samba.

Samba, who paid a visit to the district that used to be predominantly Muslim quarter on Sunday, said she had told an official from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that she objected to this evacuation, citing her government's lack of approval in this regard, an Anadolu Agency reporter said.

"The acting IOM humanitarian coordinator told me yesterday that widespread information about this evacuation is nothing but rumors," Samba told reporters.

"He also told me that he would wait until the government is informed," she added.

She said she told the IOM official that she would opine on the issue by early next week. "We were shocked to discover that the last group of Muslims is getting ready to leave today," Samba said.

The acting humanitarian coordinator, however, could not tell his story during this brief meeting between the minister and the media.

"We will discuss this matter later," the minister interrupted the U.N. official when he started to speak.

The last group of Muslims in PK12 is expected to leave the quarter in the evening on Sunday – under protection from African troops – for Kabo town, northeastern Ouham state.

The evacuation comes on the background of confrontations that erupted in the evening of Thursday and continued until the morning of Friday in PK5, the largest Muslim district in Bangui, between militants and French troops.

The confrontations left seven people dead, according to a report by the U.N. mission in the Central African Republic.

The fatalities sparked marches against the French troops in Bangui during the funeral of a slain civilian with protesters chanting against the presence of the French troops.

The evacuation of Muslims has raised worries among government officials who fear it will lead to the division of the restive country between a Muslim north and a Christian south.

The mineral-rich country descended into anarchy one year ago when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted Christian president Francois Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.

Since last December, thousands, mostly Muslims, have been killed in sectarian bloodletting throughout the country blamed on the anti-balaka militia, which is mainly made up of Christians.

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