Hundreds of CAR Muslims living in dire conditions: UN

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says hundreds of Muslims trapped in a town in the west of the Central African Republic (CAR) are living in dire conditions.

About 500 Muslims, mainly ethnic Peuls, have been in the town of Yaloke since fleeing hostile Christian anti-balaka militia nine months ago.

A UN team, led by the Roman Catholic archbishop of the capital city of Bangui, recently visited Yaloke to provide medical help.

Elkana Ndwatcha, the doctor with the mission, told VOA news on Monday that the situation of the Peuls was deplorable, urging immediate action to protect the Muslims.

He said that forty people have died between April and December. The figure includes thirteen children who died mainly of malaria and malnutrition.

The CAR descended into chaos in December last year, when armed Christian groups launched coordinated attacks against the Seleka group, which had toppled the government in March 2013.

On December 5, 2013, France invaded the CAR, a former French colony, after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution giving the African Union (AU) and France the go-ahead to send troops to the country.

Despite the presence of some 8,000 UN and 2,000 French peacekeepers in the CAR, the violence, which has killed thousands and displaced about a million people, has not subsided.

Rights groups have on a few occasions reported that Muslims in the war-torn country “are being butchered” at the hands of the Christians.