In an unusual scene, hundreds of women in the Central African Republic (CAR) regardless of their creed or culture came out to celebrate International Women’s Day in the capital, Bangui.
The day was marked around the world but in C.A.R, the celebrations were seen as a symbol of unity as both Christian and Muslim women danced together on the streets after years of violent turmoil between the two religions.
In early 2013, mainly Muslim rebels from a group called the Seleka seized power in the majority Christian nation, provoking reprisals from Christian anti-balaka militias. Leaders have since fueled a cycle of religious and inter-communal killings.
I am excited and happy to see Christians and Muslims coming together in peace.
“I am excited and happy to see the Christians and Muslims coming together in peace. My mother is Christian and my father is Muslim,” said Awa Djakite.
“I am very happy about today’s celebration because for several years we didn’t get together with our Muslim sisters. It is a great day. We came from different neighbourhoods of Bangui to gather here. I am full of joy and I am very happy because the peace is finally here,” said Ngana Raissa Zite.
About one million people from a population of 5 million in CAR have been driven from their homes by fighting and campaigns of ethnic and religious cleansing.