World Bulletin / News Desk
The Central African Republic has been almost completely emptied of Muslims after hundreds of thousands of Muslims were forced to flee from the violence of the anti-balaka Christian militia.
The anti-balaka forces have blamed Muslims for atrocities committed by seleka rebels, who came from the mainly Muslim north of the country, after they conducted a coup on the government last year.
As the violence flared out of control, the country's first Muslim president resigned as France and African Union forces stepped in to bring the violence under control.
However, since the election of CAR's new Christian president, Muslims have complained that violence against them has only increased. They have also accused French forces of being biased against them after disarming Muslim militias and leaving them defenceless against machete-wielding Christian gangs.
Under a thousand Muslims are left in the country, with many of them seeking refuge in a local church under the protection of a priest in Carnot, in the west of the country.
A small group of African Union peacekeepers are guarding the church, but they may not be strong enough to ward off an attack from anti-balaka militiamen, who have already threatened to attack the church and kill everyone inside it, including the priest himself.
Many of them have narrowly escaped with their lives, having lost loved ones along the way, as anti-balaka militants raid their villages and ambush Muslims still trekking through the forests trying to make it to safety. BBC Newsnight's Tim Whewell also recorded incidents of anti-balaka militants seizing Muslim women as slaves.
It is not clear how many Muslims have been killed exactly, but the figure is estimated to be in the thousands, as thousands more have been forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries.Last Mod: 21 Mart 2014, 14:33