Muslims flee capital of C African RepublicAssociated Press . Bangui
Thousands of Muslims fled for their lives from the capital of Central African Republic on Friday, climbing aboard trucks guarded by heavily armed Chadian forces. One man who fell off a truck was subsequently killed and his body mutilated, highlighting the savagery faced by those Muslims who stayed behind.
The convoy of some 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles made its way toward Chad, a predominantly Muslim neighbouring country. Crowds of Christians cheered as the convoy passed out of town. The exodus witnessed by Associated Press journalists comes after two months of sectarian violence in the capital that has targeted Muslims accused of collaborating with the now-sidelined rebel government.
In recent weeks, angry mobs have set fire to mosques and have brutally killed and mutilated Muslims. On Wednesday, one Muslim suspected of having aided last year’s rebellion was attacked for 15 minutes with knives, bricks and feet. Uniformed soldiers then paraded his body through the streets before it was dismembered and set ablaze.
‘It really is a horrific situation. All over Bangui, entire Muslim neighbourhoods are being destroyed and emptied,’ said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, who has gotten trapped Muslims to safety under the guard of peacekeepers.
‘Their buildings are being destroyed and being taken apart, brick by brick, roof by roof, to wipe out any sign of their once existence in this country,’ he added.
Some trucks broke down even before they could leave Bangui and had to be abandoned. The passengers jumped aboard other trucks, facing constant jeering, threats and stone throwing from the watching crowd.
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