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Muslims Ethnically Cleansed in Central African Republic

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Central African Republic

A young boy walks through a burned Muslim store in Guen, some 250 kilometers north of Bangui, Central African Republic in April 2014. A sweeping United Nations report released in May 2017 identified hundreds of human rights violations in Central African Republic that may amount to war crimes. The report comes amid growing fears that the country terrorized by multiple armed groups is once again slipping into the sectarian bloodshed that left thousands dead between late 2013 and 2015. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay-File)

Jerome Delay/AP

Two thousand Muslims are now sheltered in a Catholic cathedral in the Central African Republic’s (CAR) southern city of Bangassou. 

The country’s Muslims have been victims of a three-year-long ethnic cleansing campaign by the Antibalaka, a mostly-Christian militia. The Antibalaka are targeting all Muslims after a mostly-Muslim rebel group called Séléka deposed the country’s president in 2014. But the violence had mostly been limited to the north of the country until now. 

The Antibalaka captured Bangassou in May, when the city’s Muslims first sought refuge in the church. 

The state of the conflict in CAR is uncertain. Human rights observers say there have been few serious moves to resolve the crisis. 

To discuss, we’re joined by Lewis Mudge, a researcher in the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. He specializes on CAR, Rwanda, and Burundi.

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