CAR conflict: Thousands of Chadians evacuated

As Emily Thomas reports, many of those waiting to leave are from Chad

Hundreds of Chadians fled violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Saturday, joining thousands who have left in the past week.

Chadians living in the CAR have been accused by some of backing anti-government rebels called the Seleka.

Similar accusations have been made about the Chadian contingent of the African peacekeeping force in the CAR.

The CAR has been wracked by violence since March when the Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize.

The conflict has become increasingly sectarian in tone, with the mostly Muslim Seleka militia clashing with Christian groups.

Some Muslim Central Africans are reported to be among those fleeing the country.

The African Union has sent nearly 4,000 troops to CAR while France, the former colonial power, has also deployed 1,600 soldiers there.

Chadian civilians fleeing Bangui in trucks Chadians have been fleeing Bangui by air and land
Security 'deteriorating'

There are thought to be hundreds of thousands of Chadians living in the CAR, many of whose families have been present in the country for several generations.

Many Christians accuse the government of Chad - a largely Muslim country - of being allied to the Seleka group.

On Wednesday, six Chadian peacekeepers were killed in an attack by a Christian militia known as Anti-Balaka in the capital Bangui.

Chadian civilians leaving Bangui on Saturday had to be protected from jeering protesters by French peacekeepers, AFP reports.

2,743 Chadians have been evacuated from the CAR in the past week, according the the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Senegal and Niger have also asked the IOM for assistance in evacuating their nationals, the organisation says.

"IOM is ready to help but we must secure urgent funding. We must stress to our donors and partners that migrants' lives are at great risk," Mohammed Abdiker of the IOM said in a statement.

The IOM warned that that the security situation in Bangui was "deteriorating" and that the "level of the crisis is expected to intensify in the coming days".

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