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Archbishop condemns Christian attacks in C.Africa

People wait during the speech of French Defence Minister and new president of Central African Republic during a visit in the city of Mbaiki (south-west) in Central African Republic, on February 12, 2014. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR

VATICAN CITY: A Central African Republic archbishop on Thursday condemned the attacks on Muslim civilians being carried out by Christian militia groups in his country, saying that violence was not coherent with faith.

"You cannot say you are Christian and kill, burn, destroy your brother," Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the archbishop of Bangui, said on Vatican Radio.

He said members of the anti-balaka militias "cannot believe that they are being coherent with their faith" and defined their attacks as a "struggle for power".

"Imams, pastors and myself, we speak the same language... We ask that those who use, who manipulate young people, be held responsible on a national and an international level," the Catholic cleric said.

Amnesty International on Wednesday denounced "ethnic cleansing" in the country, saying it had documented at least 200 killings of Muslim civilians by the Christian militia groups set up in the wake of the March 2013 coup by the mainly-Muslim Seleka rebellion.

The impoverished Christian-majority country descended into chaos last March after the rebellion overthrew the government, sparking deadly violence that has uprooted a million people out of a population of 4.6 million.

Atrocities, the fear of attacks and a lack of food have displaced a quarter of the country's population, while the United Nations and relief agencies estimate that at least two million people need humanitarian assistance.

 

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