BANGUI – As sectarian violence rips Central Africa Republic, some regions in the capital Bangui remain as oases for coexistence and hope for an inclusive future for Muslims and Christians in the war-torn country.
“Here, we have a mixture of populations that do not exist in other areas,” Bash, a 28-year-old Muslim resident who wished to be identified only by his nickname for security reasons, told France 24 on Tuesday, December 17.
“This diversity has prevented us from sinking into violence.”
As Bangui descends into chaos with the recent wave of religious conflict, areas Boulata and Ramandji neighborhoods were still save from divisions.
The neighborhoods, where a mixed population of Christians and Muslims co-habit, have remained calm over the past months.
“We grew up together, people have intermarried,” Bash explained.
“Here, you can find a child with a Muslim name in a Christian home because the father is Muslim,” he added.
At least 450 have been killed and hundreds more injured since the beginning of December when Christian militias, loyal to the CAR’s ousted President Francois Bozize, launched multiple attacks from the north, according to the UN humanitarian office.
The country has been thrown into violence after President Michel Djotodia declared himself the country’s first Muslim leader after ousting Bozize on March 24.
Taking the helms of power, Djotodia has struggled to rein in members of the now-dissolved Seleka group that swept him to power nine months ago.
According to news reports, rogue former rebels turned warlords have set up little fiefdoms and sown terror in villages.