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Anti-balaka (Christian militia) members, Central Africa Republic. The anti-balaka came into being after the outbreak of a conflict over political power between Muslims and Christians.
Anti-balaka (Christian militia) members, Central Africa Republic. The anti-balaka
came into being after the outbreak of a conflict over political power between Muslims
and Christians. (Screen capture from YouTube video)
"We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term. It's our right to kill Muslims."
Captain Dopani Firmin, the 'anti-balaka' (Christian militia) chief in Boda
By Emmanuel Braun
In normal times, the rickety wooden bridges at each end of the red-dirt main street in Boda were gateways to shops and a bustling market in the diamond-mining town in western Central African Republic.




Today, they mark the fine line between life and death for hundreds of Muslims living under siege, encircled by Christian 'anti-balaka' militia fighters bent on chasing out the country's Islamic population.

"We live in a prison," said Adou Kone, a tailor. "Everything is blocked, nothing comes in. It's very expensive to buy food ... Our life is at a critical stage."

Boda illustrates the chaos that has gripped Central African Republic since late 2012 when a battle for political power degenerated into clashes between Muslims and Christians that have forced about 1 million people from their homes.

If they stray beyond either bridge, Muslims in Boda say they would be killed, like thousands of other victims of tit-for-tat violence that continue despite the deployment of French and African peacekeepers...

ETHNIC-RELIGIOUS CLEANSING

Virtually all Muslims have fled Bangui since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, who seized power in March 2013, were forced to step aside in January. The United Nations has reported a "cleansing" of Muslims from the country's west.

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