Muslims attacked by Christian mob in CAR's Bangui

Interim president Michel Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since its independence from France, stepped down Friday during a regional summit in neighboring Chad.

Muslims attacked by Christian mob in CAR's Bangui

World Bulletin / News Desk

A group of Christians went on a rampage late on Friday, attacking Muslims in several parts of Bangui, capital of the troubled Central African Republic (CAR).

"I was in a taxi from Lakwanga heading to the city market when a Christian mob stopped the taxi and demanded that all Muslims get out," Issa Abokar told Anadolu Agency.

Since he wasn't dressed in traditional Muslim garb, Abokar managed to escape unscathed.

But he doesn't know the fate of two other Muslims who disembarked from the taxi.

"If these reprisal attacks continue, I might be forced to stop coming to town, since it isn't safe for Muslims anymore," lamented Abokar.

Interim president Michel Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since its independence from France, reportedly stepped down Friday during a regional summit in neighboring Chad.

In a final communiqué issued at the end of the two-day summit on Friday, the Economic Community of Central African States said that regional heads of state had acknowledged Djotodia's resignation.

Members of the National Transitional Council, CAR's interim parliament, were flown to Chadian capital N'djamena on Thursday to take part in deliberations on the country's future.

Djotodia, who attended the ECCAS summit, was elected by the 135-member council in April of last year, one month after the rebel seleka coalition deposed president Francois Bozize, a Christian who had assumed power in a 2003 coup.

Since then, the mineral-rich, landlocked country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between self-styled Christian militias known as "anti-balaka" and former seleka fighters.

Singled out

Christians, who constitute the majority of CAR's population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels.

They believe that Muslims were favored by Djotodia and the seleka fighters, who have themselves been accused of attacking non-Muslims and looting non-Muslim businesses.

"I barely survived an attack by a mob of Christians near the UNDP [United Nations Development Program] offices in Bangui," a Muslim businessman based in the capital told AA, asking not to be named for fear of reprisal.

"I was driving from my office when they started stoning my car, but I didn't stop," said the man, adding that his car windshield had been broken in the attack.

"It wasn't just one or two people," he added. "It was a mob of over 30 people targeting any Muslim they could find on the street."

Visibly shaken, he isn't planning to report to work tomorrow.

"I'm traumatized," he added forlornly. "I feel like living the country."

Bangui Christians celebrate Djotodia's resignation

Christians in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), celebrated on Friday the resignation of interim President Michel Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president.

"We never hated Muslims in this country until Djotodia brought his Chadian and Sudanese mercenaries, who killed and raped our people and looted our property," a man who identified himself only as Bendicto told Anadolu Agency.

He described Djotodia's resignation as a relief to the country's Christians, who represent the majority of CAR's total population.

In a final communiqué issued after a two-day summit in Chad, the Economic Community of Central African States said Friday that regional heads of state had taken note of Djotodia's resignation.

Members of the National Transitional Council, CAR's interim parliament, were flown to Chadian capital N'djamena on Thursday to take part in deliberations on the country's future.

Djotodia was elected as interim president by the 135-member council in April of last year, one month after the rebel seleka coalition deposed president Francois Bozize, a Christian who had assumed power in a 2003 coup.

Immediately after news of the resignation emerged, celebrations erupted inside camps for displaced persons.

"Displaced people here are celebrating; there's no way I can express their joy," Father Ancient Senganambi, resident priest at St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church, told AA.

Nearly 10,000 displaced Christians have sought refuge at the church, located some 12km from Bangui.

According to the priest, Christians expect to see major improvements in public security in the wake of Djotodia's resignation.

"Djotodia failed to control some of his troops, who had gone on a rampage and attacked Christians, leading to the current sectarian violence," Senganambi said.

Since March of last year, the mineral-rich, landlocked country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between self-styled Christian militias known as "anti-balaka" and former seleka fighters.

Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2014, 10:48
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