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10 mosques reopen in Central African Republic

People walk past a mosque in the vicinity of the Central African Republic’s capital city of Bangui on March 9, 2014.

Ten mosques have reopened in Central African Republic (CAR)'s capital city of Bangui, as Muslims begin to return home after months of sectarian violence, a top cleric says.

The mosques were closed after people escaped the violence due to fighting between rival ethnic groups in the landlocked country, said Aliou Ousseini, one of CAR's most influential clerics.

“A house of worship closing its doors is not a good thing,” Ousseini said, hoping that the recent drop in violence would continue its trend.

According to UN figures, over 95 percent of the 436 mosques in the country were destroyed in the conflict between Christian militias and Muslims.

Meanwhile, some 3,000 Muslims who fled the violence have returned home, according to Abacar Ousmane, a spokesman for Muslims in Bangui.

Residents watch as a convoy of French troops patrol in the city of Grimari, in the Central African Republic, on April 16, 2014. (AFP photo)


UN forces, backed by French soldiers, have sent troops to the nation to control the situation. The UN force includes some 6,000 troopers from the African Union, which the international body took charge of last September.

However, some European states have decided to pull out their forces, creating concern about a possible security vacuum.

The Central African Republic has been convulsed by turmoil since December 2013, when armed Christian groups launched coordinated attacks against the mostly Muslim Seleka group that toppled the government in March that year.

At least 5,000 people are believed to have been killed and over one million displaced by the conflict so far. Many of those who have fled their homes are Muslims.


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