Tensions between Muslims and Christian Believers Increase in CAR

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At least 26,000 people reside in squalid camps close to a largely abandoned city following armed groups of Muslims and Christian facing-off there in May.

In mid May this heavely armed group the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) marched into the city of Bria within the Central African Republic (CAR). 1000s of, mostly Christian, civilians were homeless since the group faced off with anti-balaka fighters in the village, located some 600 km northeast from the capital, Bangui. Around 85 % from the city’s residents left.

At least 60 people were killed in Bria, as the FPRC rebels, a faction of the Seleka, a Muslim led group that toppled then Leader Francois Bozize in a coup in The year 2013, aimed the mainly Christian anti balaka fighters and anyone they regarded as associated with the group.

Thousands of people – both equally Muslim and Christian – have been slain in the nation and almost a million homeless since the coup.

Christians and Muslims have been pitted towards each other, although most experts concur that the struggle is really about taxation and who’s command over the country’s mineral resources.

But the religious dimensions to the armed groups and the violence they’ve wrought has developed bitterness between the residential areas making them more and more remote from one another.

Within Bria, the IDP camp are mainly lived on by Christian believers, whilst those residents who remain in the town are typically Muslim.
The 2 communities stay away from one another, fearing reprisal violence. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) states there are daily occurrences involving Christians and Muslims in the town – that remains tense, economically dysfunctional and in a state of limbo.

30 days following the FPRC forces that entered, some 41,000 people continue to live in squalid conditions in IDP camps around the town. Inside the PK3 camp, situated 3 km away from town centre, around 26,000 men and women, largely females and youngsters, live in shelters manufactured from bits of wood sourced from the surrounding forests as well as plastic sheets provided by UN agencies.

Infrequent physical violence has broken out in several regions of central and far eastern CAR over the past month. 100s have already been slain. There are currently in excess of 500,000 IDPs across the country.

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