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Africa

CAR Muslims feel 'abandoned' by government

Many citizens displaced by ongoing conflict say they are struggling to make ends meet during Ramadan.

Last updated: 21 Jul 2014 19:20
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Central African Republic has been gripped by ethnic and religious violence since a coup in March 2013 [AFP]

Muslims who have been displaced by conflict in the Central African Republic have accused the transitional government of abandoning them during the month of Ramadan.

Muslims in the CAR capital of Bangui are fasting for the holy month of Ramadan but challenges of insecurity and lack of food in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps have dampened the spirit of Ramadan for many.

"We are doing the best that we can during this Ramadan period. Many of our families have been displaced. We are here, we do the best that we can," Moussen Souleman, an internally displaced person, told Reuters news agency on Monday.

Many Muslims who have been displaced by conflict say that they feel that they have been abandoned by their government because they are Muslims.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have lost their homes in the conflict that began a coup in March 2013.

The community says they were struggling to fulfil their duties as Muslims during Ramadan because they had barely enough to eat and felt threatened by the continuous insecurity that has enveloped the country.

"The president has no consideration for Muslims. Even in the US, Barack Obama wished Muslims a happy Ramadan, even the militants in Israel did the same. But here, at the beginning of Ramadan, not even the president nor the government wished a happy Ramadan to Muslims, which means nobody cares for us," said Aroun, an internally displaced person.

Mapping Central African Republic's bloodshed

CAR has been gripped by ethnic and religious violence since the Muslim-led Seleka rebels, seized power in the mainly Christian nation in 2013.

Seleka left power in January under international pressure and since then anti-Balaka Christian militias have preyed on Muslims.

Those attacks have largely driven Muslims from the capital Bangui, effectively partitioning the country, whose east is controlled mainly by Seleka.

During Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar, all healthy adult Muslims are expected to refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

There are now 2,000 French troops working alongside 6,000 African peacekeepers in the former French colony, which is rich in diamonds and gold but has seen little but internal strife and the spillover of regional conflicts since independence.

Key political and religious groups have threatened to boycott peace talks scheduled to begin on Monday, July 21 in the Republic of Congo, saying their country's future should be resolved at home.

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