BANGUI: African peacekeepers escorted more than 1,000 minority Muslims fleeing attacks by mainly Christian militias in the Central African Republic to neighboring Chad, police told AFP on Saturday.
“Not a single Muslim remains in Bossangoa,” a police source said, referring to a northwestern town, adding that they left for Chad on Thursday.
The refugees had gathered at a Qur’anic school and the Catholic Church’s premises in Bossangoa, fearing for their lives if they stayed on in the town, he said.
Large-scale violence between Christians and Muslims had been raging in Bossangoa and nearby Bouca since last September, part of nationwide unrest sparked by a March 2013 coup.
Thousands have been killed and around a quarter of the country’s 4.6 million people displaced, most of them Muslims, who make up around one-fifth of the overall population.
Muslims who lived peacefully alongside Christians for decades have abandoned entire regions since the conflict took on unprecedented ethnic and religious dimensions.
At least 150 people have lost their lives in the fighting in the Bossangoa region alone pitting former rebels of the Seleka movement that held power for 10 months against mainly Christian “anti-balaka” militias.