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Another mosque destroyed, looted in Central African Republic

Around 4 thousand Muslims in Bangui take shelter in mosque.

12.02.2014
Another mosque destroyed, looted in Central African Republic

BANGUI, Central African Republic 

An angry mob of Christians late Tuesday destroyed a local mosque in Bangui, capital of the troubled Central African Republic (CAR).

"They looted the mosques' iron sheets, doorframes and windows," Sherif Wadi, a Muslim eyewitness, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

He said the mob had started vandalizing the mosque late Tuesday.

Wadi asserted that the mosque's walls were still standing when he fled to Kilometer 5, a predominantly Muslim district of Bangui.

"No Muslim was injured in the attack," he said, adding that the few Muslims living in the area had now moved to Kilometer 5 and the airport area, where thousands of Muslims were seeking refuge from Christian mobs and anti-balaka militias.

"We're fed up with Muslims here and want them all to leave," local resident Hubert Ndho told AA on Wednesday. "That's why we destroyed their mosque."

Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, a top Muslim community leader in CAR, told AA on Tuesday that of the 36 mosques that had originally stood in Bangui, "today, they are less than ten."

He said that a total of 67 mosques had been destroyed across the Central African country.

Christians, who constitute the majority of CAR's population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels who ousted Francois Bozize, a Christian, last March and installed Michel Djotodia as interim president.

For months, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the anti-balaka and former seleka fighters.

In January, Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian serving as Bangui mayor at the time, was elected by the country's interim parliament as new interim president.

Since then, Muslims have been targeted with increasing frequency.

On Sunday, two Muslims were lynched by a mob of angry Christians in Bangui before the Rwandan contingent of African peacekeeping force MISCA intervened to save others from similar fates.

On Friday, a Muslim man was pulled off a truck heading to Chad and lynched by a Christian mob that later set his body on fire.

Two days earlier, no sooner had Samba-Panza left an official ceremony than hundreds of army personnel dragged a civilian from the crowd and lynched him on suspicion of being a former seleka fighter.

Anadolu Agency reporter in CAR reported many cases of looting of Muslim houses and mosques by Christians militias allegedly linked to Seleka militias.

CAR is a mineral-rich, landlocked country, bordered by a number of countries who are also suffering from internal conflict, thus making an exit from the CAR difficult.  

CAR descended into anarchy in March 2013 when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Francois Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in a 2003 coup, and installed Michel Djotodia as an interim president.

In clashes between Muslims and Christians, thousands of people have been killed, millions of people have been displaced and tens of thousands have fled the country to neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.

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