A "Muslim exodus of historic proportions" is occurring in the Central African Republic, says a new report from Amnesty International, because "International peacekeepers have failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Muslim civilians." The troops, from France and several African countries, have allowed vigilantes "to fill the power vacuum" that emerged after a rebel leader exited last month. Adds Human Rights Watch today, per CNN, Muslims are "being targeted in a relentless wave of coordinated violence that is forcing entire communities to leave the country." Now, the country is facing what UN head Ban Ki-moon calls a "de facto partition," divided between Christians and Muslims.
The exodus has fueled a food shortage in a country where Muslims, who represent 15% of the population, had run many stores and wholesalers, the BBC reports. "There's already a very serious food crisis in Central African Republic," an activist tells Reuters. "The problem is that the situation is going to get much, much worse." The UN is delivering food from Cameroon by air because of dangers on the road. Some 90% of the country eats just one meal a day. While the UN will provide enough food for 150,000 people, the number needing food aid is 1.25 million, says a UN rep.