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ICC Note: This latest incident in CAR illustrates the nature of the oppression visited upon the majority Christian population by the Islamist Seleka rebels, often with the support of CAR’s Muslim population. In this case, four Christians were apparently targeted for retribution after an earlier protest of Christian mistreatment by local Muslim erupted into violence where both side suffered casualties. The lack of police or military protection of the Christian population, despite the promises of President Djotodia to do just that, leave many doubting the sincerity of CAR’s Muslim commander-in-chief.
10/06/2013 Central African Republic (Times LIVE) Fourteen people have been killed in violent clashes between Christians and Muslims in an isolated town in eastern Central African Republic that began last week, police and a senior Catholic official said on Sunday.
The mineral-rich but impoverished nation has descended into chaos since northern Seleka rebels seized the capital, Bangui, and ousted President Francois Bozize in March.
UN officials and rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes, prompting calls for outside intervention to end the violence.
Residents of Bangassou, around 750 km east of the capital Bangui, said Seleka fighters had backed the town’s Muslims during the clashes, which saw four people killed on Saturday.
“All four of those killed were from the Christian community,” Bangassou’s Catholic Bishop Juan José Aguirre told Reuters. “We’re overwhelmed, inundated by thousands of men, women, and children seeking refuge from the fighting at the diocese,” he said.
Clashes initially broke out on Tuesday after Christians organised a march to protest against abuses by Seleka’s predominantly Muslim fighters based in the town, said Bangassou police official Edouard Mbiga.
“Muslim community members, backed by Seleka, brought out weapons and blocked the march. The situation deteriorated and there were 10 deaths on both sides. It all a started from that,” he said.