Militia attack Muslims in Central African Republic’s capital

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Heavy arms fire and gunshots rang out across the capital of the Central African Republic on Friday as Christian militia forces attacked Muslim neighborhoods, sending residents fleeing.

(Reuters) – A spokesman for the 3,700-strong African Union peacekeeping force, MISCA, said the “anti-balaka” fighters had attacked the PK 5 and Fatima neighborhoods, home to the city’s minority Muslim population.

An attack on Bangui by Christian militias in early December sparked a wave of bloody reprisals by the Muslim Seleka fighters who seized power in March. Hundreds of people were killed in the violence, prompting France to send peacekeeping troops to its former colony.

Guy-Simplice Kodegue, a spokesman for the interim government, said the Christian militia forces had tried to reach the center of the riverside capital.

All economic and social activity had stopped as panicked residents fled, he told Reuters.