Shhh! “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.” — Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013
At least 1,000 people were killed in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, in just two days of violence earlier this month, according to Amnesty International. The figure is significantly higher than an earlier UN estimate.
Seleka, a Muslim-militia outfit, ousted Christian President Francois Bozize in March and installed their leader Michel Djotodia as the country’s interim president.
This sparked a sectarian conflict as Anti-Balaka, the Christian militias loyal to Bozize, raided Muslim neighbourhoods and killed about 60 Muslim men.
Following this, Seleka’s men unleashed retaliatory attacks, killing 1,000 people in Bangui.
Earlier, the UN had estimated that about 450 people were killed in Bangui, while another 150 died in separate incidents in different parts of the country.
“The de-facto government forces, known as ex-Seleka, retaliated on a larger scale against Christians in the wake of the attack, killing nearly 1,000 men over a two-day period and systematically looting civilian homes. A small number of women and children were also killed,” the Amnesty report said.
Violence has also spread to other parts of the country. Bossango, 300 km north of Bangui, is also deserted due to the religious violence in the country, Pakistan’s Dawn reports.
Residents of Bossangoa have fled to a large camp near the archbishop’s office.
“Spontaneously and in waves, in the past two months, 40,000 Christians in Bossangoa and surrounding villages have gathered around the archbishopric, crammed onto only four hectares,” an official from the aid group Action Against Hunger said….