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Faith leaders seek end to violence against Muslims in African nation.

(RNS) African religious leaders are appealing for an end to violence against Muslims in the Central African Republic as thousands flee to neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

In recent weeks, a pro-Christian militia known as anti-Balaka (or anti-machete) has killed and mutilated Muslims as they have tried to leave the capital Bangui by the truckload.

Muslims had enjoyed some protection when Michel Djotodia, the country's first interim Muslim president, was in power. Djotodia resigned under pressure in January and Catherine Samba-Panza was appointed the interim president.

Earlier, Djotodia's Seleka Islamist coalition faced accusations of atrocities against Christians. His departure did not stop revenge attacks.

"We are horrified by these killings in the Central African Republic," said Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, the coordinator of Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa. "We appeal to both groups to cease the attacks and live side by side as they have done for many years."

Muslims make up 15 percent of CAR's population. Christians comprise 50 percent; the rest are of various native faiths. More than 800,000 people have been displaced in the fighting. According to the United Nations, more than 2,000 have been killed there since March 2013.

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Title Annotation:AT A GLANCE
Author:Nzwili, Frederick
Publication:The Presbyterian Outlook
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6CENT
Date:Mar 17, 2014
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