A Muslim former minister has become one of the latest victims of the escalating sectarian violence in the Central African Republic.
Former health minister Dr. Joseph Kalite was hacked to death by machete-wielding Christian militiamen at the Central Mosque in the capital Bangui on Friday, a day after interim President Catherine Samba-Panza took the oath of office, pledging to bring peace and unity to the country.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International reported that at least 50 Muslims lost their lives in two attacks on villages in the northwest of the Central African Republic.
On January 17, militants killed 22 Muslims, including three children, and injured several others in the African country.
The militants launched grenades and used machetes against Muslim civilians being evacuated in a truck convoy in the northwestern town of Bouar, said Michael McCusker with Save the Children.
Amnesty International said international peacekeepers are failing to protect Muslim communities from attacks, which are largely predictable.
Clashes between Christian and Muslim militias have reportedly killed over 2,000 since December, and forced about a million people to flee the violence.
Some 6,600 African and French peacekeepers are currently in the country.
The Central African Republic has been the scene of deadly violence since Christian militias launched coordinated attacks on the mostly Muslim Seleka group, which toppled the government of President Francois Bozizé and brought Michel Djotodia to power in March 2013. Bozizé fled the country after his ouster.
On September 13, 2013, Djotodia dissolved the Seleka coalition. Some of the rebels later joined the country’s regular army while some defied.
Djotodia and former Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye resigned on January 10 due to intense pressure over the government's failure to contain unprecedented levels of violence in the country.
There are many mineral resources, including gold and diamond, in the Central African Republic. However, the country is extremely poor and has faced a series of rebellions and coups since it gained independence in 1960.