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Catholic, Islamic leaders denounce 'infiltrators' stirring violence in churches, mosques of Central African Republic

Catholic World News - February 24, 2014

A Catholic archbishop and a Muslim leader in the Central African Republic have issued a joint statement calling upon their people to curb the activities of “infiltrators” who are using churches and mosques to organize campaigns of violence, the Fides news service reports.

“Armed men have moved into places of worship,” warn Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui and Imam Oumar Kobin Layama, the capital city’s top Muslim official. “May all the brothers carrying weapons hand over their arms. The military must disarm everyone in churches and in mosques.”

Violence and looting have been widespread in the Central African Republic, and the religious leaders made an appeal for international peacekeeping forces to help restore order. Since the ouster of the Seleka rebel force, militia groups have swept the countryside, looking for Muslims who are suspected of being Seleka sympathizers. Both Christian and Muslim leaders have denounced attempts to frame a political conflict in religious terms.

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