WASHINGTON, February 20, 2014 – In what Amnesty International is calling “ethnic cleansing,” Christian terror groups called the anti-balaka are targeting and attacking Muslims in the country of the Central African Republic. The terror groups also attacked a Muslim refugee camp established to house innocents fleeing from the violence.
Last week, The Guardian reported “Thousands of Muslims tried to flee the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) on Friday, only for their mass convoy of cars and trucks to be turned back as crowds of angry Christians taunted: ‘We’re going to kill you all.’”
“An Amnesty International report on Feb. 12 said attacks on Muslims in January by anti-balaka militias, made up of Christians and animists, had amounted to ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, has already opened a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity, saying some ‘victims appeared to have been deliberately targeted on religious grounds.’ A top U.N. official issued similar warnings during a recent visit to the ravaged capital, Bangui, telling reporters: ‘There is an ethnic-religious cleansing taking place. It must be stopped.’”
Of course, many Christians have taken offense to the Anti-Balaka groups adopting the name of their religion to wage violence. The Washington Post reports that Roman Catholic “Churches in Central African Republic are caring for thousands of Muslims.” These groups have even gone to the extent of housing Muslim within churches to protect them from the growing cycle of violence. The churches are providing shelter, food, water and medicine.
The conflict began last year, when the extremist Seleka Muslim rebels seized power over the government and targeted Christian groups. The Anti-Balaka terror groups, comprising mostly of Christians, organized as a response to the Selekan Muslim rebels, and have expanded attacks to civilians.
The United Nations has confirmed that the Anti-Balaka are targeting ethnic Muslim neighborhoods, causing more than 10,000 civilians to flee.
Thousands of peacekeepers have been deployed by the United Nations and several European countries, yet experts do not see an end to the conflict.
Despite the peacekeepers already deployed, local media in the Central African Republic, Branden Herald reports “The U.N. humanitarian chief on Thursday said that more troops are needed on the ground in volatile Central African Republic, where Muslims have been slain in the streets of the capital despite the presence of thousands of French and African peacekeepers.”
The aptly named country is located directly in the center of Africa, and is landlocked by bordering countries Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, and Cameron.