Muslims Forced to Flee by Christians


French soldiers from the 13th Alpine Hunters Battalion (13th BCA) control anti-balaka members as they patrol near the northwestern Central African Republic city of Boda on April 7, 2014
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French soldiers from the 13th Alpine Hunters Battalion (13th BCA) control anti-balaka members as they patrol near the northwestern Central African Republic city of Boda on April 7, 2014 (AFP Photo/Miguel Medina)

Boda (Central African Republic) (AFP) – Stifled by the heat inside a barn in the Central African Republic town of Boda, dozens of emaciated and often sick displaced people subsist in fear of the vigilantes who surround the diamond producing town.

The group, members of an extended family, fled to Boda from the village of Danga 25 kilometres (15 miles) away, seeking shelter from the anti-balaka — or “anti-machete”, mainly-Christian militia groups that have been hunting and killing members of the crisis-torn country’s Muslim minority.

But days after the family arrived in Boda, fierce clashes broke out between the anti-balaka and local Muslims, ending with the Christian militia forces encircling the southwestern diamond-mining town.

More than 14,000 Muslims, including the displaced family from Danga, are now trapped inside with no way out and very limited supplies.

“I am suffering very much. No house, no food. The anti-balaka are killing people — many,” said Saifou, one of those sheltering in the suffocating barn.

“I have lost many things, even my cattle. I had 800 of them,” said Saifou — who, like some 200 other displaced people stuck in the town, is from the Fula ethnic group, a predominantly Muslim, herding people whose members are scattered across west and central Africa.

Boda began its bloody downward spiral at the end of January, after coup leader-turned-president Michel Djotodia gave up power under international pressure.

Djotodia was accused of letting ex-fighters from Seleka, the mainly Muslim rebel coalition that swept him to power 10 months earlier, wage a campaign of atrocities against the Christian majority.

Seleka fighters abandoned Boda after Djotodia stepped down, and horrific fighting broke out between people of both faiths. More than 100 people were killed in a week.

The bloodshed — which typifies the terrifying plunge into ethno-religious violence that has swept the country — was halted by the arrival of French peacekeeping troops.

– No milk for baby –

Since then, however, anti-balaka forces have laid siege to the town, once called “Boda the Beautiful” for its majestic, centuries-old trees.

The most feeble have died. Yet those who could still stand on trembling legs proved ready to stumble forward and greet visitors

“The WFP isn’t giving us sugar, no honey, no firewood, just rice and maize,” he said.

“The Christians wanted to kill us in order to take away our property. We can’t even go the mosque in our district,”

entire article here:  Muslims Forced to Flee

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About Fr. Orthohippo

The blog of a retired Anglican priest (MSJ), his musings, journey, humor, wonderment, and comments on today's scene.
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