Muslim convoy leaves Bangui in the Central African Republic

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Muslim convoy leaves Bangui in the Central African Republic

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A convoy of around 100 Muslim women and children has left Bangui escorted by 150 French peacekeepers. They are the latest to flee the fear of reprisals from Anti-Balaka Christian militias. The convoy was headed for the town of Bambari 300 kilometres from the capital.

It is effectively controlled by Seleka. Analysts believe the fact Muslims stay there is a sign of the growing partition of the Central African Republic.

But in a church in Carnot there are signs of reconciliation. Nine-hundred Muslims are sheltering there from potential Anti-Balaka militia attacks. Many want to flee to Cameroon and have been waiting for months to get safely across the border.

“A lot of people call it a religious war. But what we know is that as soon as the Muslims arrived, it was the Christians who were the first to come to their aid with food and moral support,” explained Dieu-Beni Bikowo, a priest in the church.

An Anti-Balaka base is just round the corner from the church. The militia leaders say the fighting is over but so far have not said what the future holds for the Muslims. Members of the African Union peace-keeping force provide round the clock security.

Inter communal violence flared in the country almost two years ago when a battle for power degenerated into clashes between Muslims and Christians. It’s estimated about one million have been displaced due to the violence.