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ICC Note: Religious clerics in the CAR have banned together to discourage the government from using religious as a divisive issue to gain support for political issues. This is a high stakes issue in the region being that religious violence has been brought back to the capitol city in recent years. Yesterday marked the anniversary of an incident in which armed men from a predominantly Muslim neighborhood stormed a church and killed 17 individuals including a prominent priest in the area.

06/02/2018 Central African Republic (World Watch Monitor) – The three top faith leaders of the Central African Republic (CAR), who have won international recognition for their efforts to end conflict in the country, have blamed foreign mercenaries for a recent upsurge in violence.

One month ago today, the relative calm enjoyed by the capital, Bangui, was shattered when armed men from the predominantly Muslim neighbourhood of PK5 stormed a church during Mass, killing 17 including a prominent priest.

The violence that followed, the worst to hit the capital in recent years, brought back memories of the earliest days of the conflict, when Séléka rebels entered Bangui in March 2013, and the failed attempt by self-defence militias (known as Anti-balaka, or ‘Anti-machete’) to oust the rebels from the capital in December 2013

Retaliatory attacks on the PK5 neighbourhood led to further deaths: officially 24 people were killed and 170 others were injured, but sources contacted by World Watch Monitor said the figures were higher. Two mosques were torched and many people saw their properties looted and set on fire.

Political and religious leaders were unanimous in their condemnation of the violence and called for restraint.

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