BANGUI – After months of unrest, a Muslim defense group has been formed recently in the strife-torn Central African Republic, to provide much needed protection to vulnerable Muslim population from killings, maiming and torture at the hands of Christian militias.
“They destroyed our homes and looted our property,” Abakar Sabone, the former tourism minister, told Anadolu Agency on Monday, March 3.
“They said they didn’t need us; that we’re not from CAR.
“What should we do?” Sabone asked.
Over the past weeks, thousands of terrified civilian Muslims fled for their lives to escape killings, looting and harassment by armed Christian militias.
Their flight follows months of escalating attacks on Muslims in the strife-torn republic.
Going from door to door, anti-Balaka Christian militias have raided Muslim homes, killing children and women, looting and vandalizing properties, the UN report revealed.
Deployed to cripple the ongoing fighting in CAR, the French peacekeeping forces have disarmed the ex-Seleka rebels, allowing Christian militias to retaliate from the disarmed Muslim community.
Offering Muslims a much-needed protection, the Organization of the Islamic Resistance (ORMC) was formed to represent three Islamic movements in the landlocked Central Africa.
The three movements include, the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity, the party of former president Michel Djotodia; the Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice; and the Organization of Islamic Youths.
Soon after formation, more than 500 citizens joined its ranks to defend Muslim lives and properties against the Christian militia atrocities.
“We have a total of 5000 well-equipped men. For a start, the goal is organized resistance,” the former minister said.
“This is self-defense,” he added.
Eyeing wider outreach to provide security for the vulnerable Muslims, the ORMC aims to march in the Capital without clashing with the peacekeeping forces.
“But thereafter, as any movement of this kind, we can’t help but set our sights on Bangui,” Sabone noted.
“We’re not planning to conflict with international forces on the ground, unless they intervene.
“Didn’t they watch as massacres were being carried out [against Muslims] in Bangui [without intervening]?”
According to a UNHCR report released last week, the most vulnerable CAR civilians, at least 15,000 people, have internally displace to 18 locations in the north-west and south-west of the landlocked CAR.
CAR, a mineral-rich, landlocked country, descended into anarchy in March of last year when Seleka rebels ousted François Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
Over the past weeks, anti-balaka Christian militias have raided Muslim homes killing children and women and looting and vandalizing properties.
Along with killing, kidnapping, torture and arbitrary arrest and detention, in the war-torn CAR, a UN investigation found evidences of sexual violence.
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