Christians, Muslims Clash in Central African Republic

One year ago, an alliance of Muslim rebel groups within Central African Republic (CAR), calling itself Seleka, launched an effort to overthrow the government. The majority of the country's population is Christian, with only 10 to 15 percent identifying as Muslim, but Seleka's campaign was successful. The rebels began by capturing small towns, and by March, they had seized the capital, Bangui. Throughout 2013, members of the Muslim Seleka groups reportedly launched waves of attacks on civilians in Christian areas, looting, raping, and and killing at will. In the past few months, Christian militias have emerged, calling themselves "anti-balaka," or anti-machete. Their actions have gone beyond self-defense, spilling into vicious reprisals against Muslim neighbors and others they view as complicit. More than a thousand people in CAR have been killed in the past month alone. Foreign soldiers form the African Union and France have quickly built up a presence, hoping to fend off a feared genocide.

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