Call for Muslim-Christian dialogue in C. African Republic

Anti-Muslim violence in the Central African Republic has almost completely emptied the country of Muslims who have fled to neighboring countries.

Call for Muslim-Christian dialogue in C. African Republic

World Bulletin / News Desk

A body representing Christian anti-balaka militia on Thursday called for dialogue with other ethnic groups in the Central African Republic to help bloodshed in the restive country.

At a press conference in the capital Bangui, the executive committee of anti-balaka called on the interim government to include all anti-balaka groups into one body.

It called on the international community and the interim government to secure their food needs and medical care until a disarmament program is activated.

Muslim seleka militia leader, Gen. Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, welcomed the call, saying "Any initiative for peace in the Central African Republic is welcomed".

"Peace has always been a top priority for us," he added.

Dhaffane said he is ready to join the dialogue initiative by the anti-balaka militia, reiterating his opposition to violence committed by members of the seleka and anti-balaka militias.

"I will abide by any initiative for peace in order to create a favorable atmosphere for the return of displaced people to their homes," Dhaffane said.

"This is why it is necessary for us to achieve national reconciliation to pave the way for election," he added.

MUSLIMS SKEPTICAL

Idriss Tanko, a resident of PK5, the last Muslim stronghold in the capital, described as "unreliable" the dialogue call by the anti-balaka militia.

"Can we talk about peace while anti-balaka still holds onto its arms?" Tanko asked.

"I hoped that the militia would have laid down its weapons before they had called for national dialogue because this would have been more credible," he told AA.

The Central African Republic descended into anarchy one year ago when seleka rebels removed Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup. The rebels later installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, as interim president.

Since then, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between Christian anti-balaka militias and Muslim former seleka fighters.

Anti-Muslim violence has escalated since Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian, was elected interim president in January.

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

Last Mod: 04 Nisan 2014, 11:03
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