Christians Strike Back!
'We don't want Muslims here; they must leave'.
The destroyed mosque had served a Muslim community of about 100 members in Bassekotto, located 7km from Bangui.
"No one was injured in the morning attack," Imam Ahmed Tijan Naib of Bangui's central mosque, told Anadolu Agency. He said the attack had taken place at about 10am before Muslims had started converging for weekly Friday prayers reports the Turkish Weekly.
Efforts by an AA correspondent to reach the area's local imam were unsuccessful, as the latter's cell phone was turned off.
An eyewitness told AA that a group of about 80 Christians had come with hammers, pipes and sticks and began destroying the mosque before eventually setting it ablaze.
"You could see the hatred in their faces. They kept chanting, 'We don't want Muslims here; they must leave'," Naib said.
It was the third mosque to be destroyed recently in or near Bangui, which has witnessed widespread sectarian violence in past weeks. One mosque was destroyed in Fouh earlier this month. Another was destroyed in Gobongo, some 10km from Bangui, on December 20.
CAR, a landlocked, mineral-rich country, descended into anarchy in March, when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted Christian president François Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
The country has since been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the self-styled Christian militias, known as "anti-balaka," and former seleka fighters.
According to UN estimates, more than 400,000 people – nearly ten percent of the country's 4.6 million-strong population – have abandoned their homes as a result of the violence.
|Christian militiamen walking in a clearing near Bangui, |
capital of the Central African Republic.
See more at Reuters News.