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UN: Central African Conflict Risks Becoming Religious War

Tuesday, 07 Jan 2014 08:28 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya Violence in Central African Republic risks escalating into a religious conflict amid an increasing number of clashes between Christian and Muslim militias, U.N. Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman said.

Killings are occurring across the country on a daily basis and the population is divided along religious lines, Feltman said in a presentation to the U.N. Security Council in New York Monday.

Access to residential neighborhoods in the capital, Bangui, is controlled by anti-Christian or anti-Muslim checkpoints, while in towns such as Bossangoa, Bouar and Paoua, there have been clashes between the Christian and Muslim communities, he said.

“The danger of escalation into sustained violence along religious lines remains real, with the potential for long-term danger to the country,” Feltman said.

Central African Republic was plunged into lawlessness after rebels overthrew Christian President Francois Bozize in March and Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, was appointed as national leader.

About 2.2 million people, almost half the country’s population, need humanitarian assistance, while one in every two inhabitants of Bangui has been forced to flee their home, according to Feltman.

Countries including Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal repatriated tens of thousands of their citizens, most of whom are Muslims, since the conflict began, Feltman said.

“This is the first time in the history of the CAR that people on account of their religion have felt obliged to leave the country for fear for their lives,” he said.

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Violence in Central African Republic risks escalating into a religious conflict amid an increasing number of clashes between Christian and Muslim militias, U.N. Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman said.
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2014-28-07
Tuesday, 07 Jan 2014 08:28 AM
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