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Muslim-Christian violence in Central African Republic

Catholic World News - September 11, 2013

Forces loyal to François Bozizé, the ousted president of the Central African Republic, have mounted their largest offensive against the new regime of President Michel Djotodia, BBC News reported.

Djotodia, who studied economics in the Soviet Union, is a leader of the Islamist Séléka rebel movement that overthrew Bozizé in March. The nation’s leading prelate has strongly criticized Séléka’s attacks on Christian churches.

A government spokesman said that the Bozizé loyalists were killing Muslims.

“Tensions between different religious communities are becoming more and more worrying,” observed Father Aurelio Gazzera, a Carmelite missionary. He told the Fides news agency that “this is because unknown gangs attack Muslim populations, causing the reactions of Séléka that attack Christians.”

“There is someone who wants to provoke a sectarian conflict and that for now remains in the shadows, using local groups,” he added.

The violence took place after the Sant’Egidio community brokered an accord aimed at ending strife in the nation.

The nation of 5.1 million is approximately 25% Catholic, 25% Protestant, and 15% Muslim; 35% retain indigenous beliefs.

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