Clashes in Central African Republic town kill at least 75

BANGUI, Central African Republic: At least 75 people have been killed in clashes in a town in the strife-torn Central African Republic since Tuesday and the fighting is still going on, a local priest said.

Cassien Kamatari said his parish was sheltering 1,500 people who had fled the violence between Christians and Muslims in the town of Boda, 100 kilometres west of the capital Bangui.

“Heavily-armed Muslims erected barricades at the entrance and exit to the town and launched attacks on Christians, forcing them to flee,” he told AFP by telephone on Monday.

“At least 60 people were killed and many others injured, 15 of whom died of their injuries,” Kamatari added.

All those victims were Christian, he said. The number of Muslim victims could not be determined because their bodies were buried immediately.

The former French colony descended into chaos last March when a group of mainly Muslim rebels known as the Seleka overthrew the government and installed one of their leaders, Michel Djotodia, as the country’s first Muslim president.

The coup unleashed a cycle of inter-religious violence that has raged nearly unabated for 10 months despite the presence of French and African peacekeeping troops.

Around 80 per cent of the population is Christian, but it has a significant Muslim minority who live mainly in the north.

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