DAKAR – The world's largest bloc of Islamic countries has launched a special mission to probe facts in the war-torn Central African Republic after an appointed special envoy said he would start his visit on Sunday, March 17.
“The aim for us is to save this country,” Sheikh Tidiane Gadio, a former Senegalese foreign minister, told Anadolu Agency.
Gadio was named by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) last month to lead a high-level fact-finding mission to the Central African Republic.
The mission comes as the country Muslim population faces deadly and gruesome attacks from Christian militiamen and mobs.
Over the past weeks, anti-balaka Christian militias have raided Muslim homes killing children and women, 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.
More than 1,000 people have been killed since sectarian fighting erupted in early December and nearly 1 million out of the country of 4.6 million people have fled their homes.
More than 1,600 French troops and about 6,000 African peacekeepers are in the Central African Republic.
Gadio said his mission would include a visit to Bangui, where he is expected to meet key local and regional parties to the conflict in the country.
“This mission has brought hope back to the advocates of a peaceful settlement to the conflict,” Gadio, named by the Islamic body earlier this month, said.
Refusing to elaborate on the schedule of his visit, he said neighboring countries had also welcomed the intervention of the OIC with the aim of ending the conflict in the violence-wracked country.
“I will try to help Muslims and Christians as well as the adherents of all other faiths mend their fences in order to be able to save their country,” Gadio said.
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.
Anti-Muslim violence has escalated since Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian, was elected interim president in January.
She replaces Michel Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since its independence from France in 1960, who stepped down earlier this month due to international and regional pressure.
Christians, who account for the majority of the country's population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions.
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