Muslim World Body Heading To CAR On Solidarity Mission

The world’s largest bloc of Islamic countries is sending 14 delegates to the strife-torn Central African Republic on a fact-finding and solidarity mission.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said on Sunday delegates would be in the capital, Bangui, for three days from Tuesday.

Guinea’s Foreign Minister Lounceny Fall will head the delegation, which will include Turkey’s foreign minister and diplomats from some of the 57 member-states, as well as OIC Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani and the body’s special envoy to the Central African Republic, Sheikh Tidiane Gadio.

The OIC said the delegates were expected to meet with interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, the prime minister and foreign minister, as well as Muslim and Christian religious leaders.

Central African Republic exploded into violence in early December amid mounting resentment toward a Muslim rebel government that had seized power in March 2013 by overthrowing the president of a decade.

The rebel leader-turned-president had little control over his forces, who were blamed for raping, torturing and killing civilians particularly among the country’s Christian majority.

Once the government fell in January, Christian militia fighters began attacking Muslim civilians, prompting tens of thousands to flee the country and leaving an untold number dead.

The OIC visit follows that of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was in Central African Republic earlier this month.