Prelate warns of ‘genocidal war’ in Central African Republic, pleads for UN troops
March 18, 2014
The Central African Republic’s leading Catholic prelate, Protestant leader, and imam traveled to United Nations headquarters in New York to plead for the deployment of peacekeeping forces.
In a joint statement, the three warned of the threat of “genocidal war” between the Islamist Séléka forces and the anti-balaka forces that have gained the upper hand in recent months. The nation’s hierarchy has denounced violence on both sides and has insisted that anti-balaka forces are not Christian.
“The violence began nearly a year ago with public anger at a Muslim rebel government that tortured and killed an untold number of mostly Christian civilians during its 10-month rule,” the Associated Press reported. “Ordinary Muslims, who once made up 15% of the country’s population, became targets when the president and former rebel leader went into exile in January.”
118 of the nation’s 375 mosques have been destroyed in recent months, and 20% of the Muslim population has fled the country, according to the Associated Press.