Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Article excerpt

Muslims flee C. African Republic

Heavily armed peacekeepers escorted some of the last remaining Muslims out of Central African Republic's volatile capital on Sunday, trucking more than 1,300 people who had been trapped for months by violent Christian militants.

Within minutes of the convoy's departure, an angry swarm of neighbors descended upon the mosque in a scene of total anarchy. Tools in hand, they swiftly dismantled and stole the loudspeaker once used for the call to prayer and soon stripped the house of worship of even its ceiling fan blades.

One man quickly scrawled "Youth Center" in black marker across the front of the mosque. Others mockingly swept the dirt from the ground in front of the building with brooms and shouted, "We have cleaned Central African Republic of the Muslims!"

"We didn't want the Muslims here and we don't want their mosque here anymore either," said Guy Richard, 36, who loads baggage onto trucks for a living, as he and his friends made off with pieces of the mosque.

Armed Congolese peacekeepers stood watch but did not fire into the air or attempt to stop the looting. Soon teams of thieves were stripping the metal roofs of nearby abandoned Muslim businesses in the PK12 neighborhood of Bangui. "Pillage! Pillage!" children cried as they helped cart away wood and metal.

Car bomb kills 10 in Iraq * A car bomb explosion on Sunday evening killed 10 people at an outdoor market in the Iraqi capital, officials said.

Police officials said the blast took place at the fruit and vegetable market in the Shiite district of Sadr city, killing 10 people and wounding 22 others. Several shops were damaged in the attack, they added.

Hospital officials confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Also Sunday, a government spokesman said security forces ambushed a convoy of fuel tankers trying to illegally enter Iraq from Syria, killing at least eight drivers.

Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan Ibrahim said the operation took place near the Iraqi border at dawn. Ibrahim added that intelligence reports suggested the convoy was aiming to supply an al- Qaida spin-off group. …

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