But when Christians fight back, the world condemns them. Christians fearing reprisal attacks from the Muslims who grabbed control of the Central African Republic fled by the thousands, as others ventured outside only to bury their dead after the worst violence to rack the lawless country in months.
CBN Former colonizer France has deployed more than 1,000 troops in the country in an effort to stabilitze a crisis that the French foreign minister has warned is “on the verge of genocide.” The local Red Cross says it has gathered over 280 bodies in recent days, although the perilous security had made it impossible to access some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods.
Aid workers ventured back out into the streets Saturday to collect bloated bodies that had lay uncollected in the heat since Thursday, when Christian fighters known as the anti-balaka who oppose the country’s ruler descended on the capital in a coordinated attack on several mostly Muslim neighborhoods.
Residents of Christian neighborhoods said the (Muslim) ex-rebels known as Seleka later carried out reprisal attacks, going house-to-house in search of alleged combatants and firing at civilians who merely strayed into the wrong part of town.
Most of the displaced in Central African Republic’s capital are Christian, as the ex-Seleka have not targeted Muslim neighborhoods.
Central African Republic, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been wracked for decades by coups and rebellions. In March, the Muslim rebel alliance known as Seleka overthrew the Christian president of a decade. At the time, religious ideology played little role in their power grab. The rebels soon installed their leader, Michel Djotodia, as president, though he exerted little control over forces on the ground.
The rebels are blamed for scores of atrocities since taking power, tying civilians together and throwing them off bridges to drown and burning entire villages to the ground. An armed Christian movement has arisen in response to the Seleka attacks, and it is widely believed to be supported by former members of the national army loyal to ousted President Francois Bozize.