Thousands of Muslims fled for their lives from the capital of Central African Republic on Friday.
Christian crowds cheered as truckloads of families made their way out of town. One man who fell from a truck was killed and his body mutilated, highlighting the savagery faced by those Muslims who stayed behind.
The convoy of some 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles was guarded by heavily armed soldiers from neighbouring Chad, a predominantly Muslim country.
The exodus comes after two months of sectarian violence in Central African Republic’s capital that has targeted Muslims accused of collaborating with the now-sidelined rebel government. In recent weeks, angry mobs have set fire to mosques and killed and mutilated Muslims.
Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director, who has been helping Muslims to safety under the guard of peacekeepers, said: “It really is a horrific situation. All over Bangui, entire Muslim neighbourhoods are being destroyed and emptied.”
Osmani Benui, a Muslim woman leaving Bangui, said: “The Christians say the Muslims must go back where they came from. That’s why we are going home. We had no possibility to stay on because we had no protection.”