World Bulletin / News Desk
Muslims in Bangui, capital of the troubled Central African Republic, should be evacuated in light of fears of fresh violence by Christian militiamen, a local Muslim community spokesman said.
"Muslim internally displaced persons (IDPs) settled in the camp of [Bangui's] Central Mosque," Saoudi Abdurahmane Doudou told Anadolu Agency.
"Those in PK12 [a district on Bangui's northern outskirts] must be evacuated to Bambari [in the center of the country] or other places… until the situation returns to normal," he said.
According to Doudou, some 2000 Muslim refugees in the Central Mosque's yard, along with 2500 others living in makeshift dwellings in the PK12 district, are now awaiting evacuation.
"These people's lives are threatened daily… They have nothing in their homes or elsewhere," he said.
The appeals for evacuation come amid warnings by community leaders that the prospects for Muslim-Christian coexistence appeared to be diminishing amid increasingly strident anti-Muslim sentiment.
"If Christians do not want to live with us… then we will ask to be evacuated to the [predominantly-Muslim] north," Doudou said.
"We will ask for compensations for our assets, and we would declare our republic [in the north]. But this is not what we wish for," he added.
FRENCH FORCES REJECT UN REQUEST
The call came one day after General Francisco Sorian, commander of French forces in the country, told reporters that he had decided against evacuating Muslims from the city, as proposed by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
"Our role is to protect people and do everything we can to let them live where they have always lived," Sorian said.
On Tuesday, the UNHCR said it was trying to evacuate some 19,000 Muslims from areas near Bangui, where they feared for their lives.
Since January, several districts of the capital – including the Miskin neighborhood – have been devastated and emptied of their Muslim populations.
The Central African Republic descended into anarchy one year ago when seleka rebels 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.
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 January, when Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian, was elected interim president.
Christians, who account for the majority of the country's population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels.Last Mod: 05 Nisan 2014, 09:58