70 Muslims killed in CAR town

Carnot - Christian militiamen killed at least 70 people in the remote southwest of Central African Republic, at one point ordering a group of Muslims to lie on the ground and shooting them one by one, witnesses said on Monday.

The militiamen, known as the anti-Balaka, slaughtered the Muslims in the village of Guen earlier this month, a Catholic priest, the Reverend Rigobert Dolongo, who helped bury the bodies, told The Associated Press. At least 27 people were slain in the first day of the attack, while 43 others were killed on the second day, he said.

Ibrahim Aboubakar, 22, said the anti-Balaka stormed Guen and killed his two older brothers after they were heard speaking in Arabic.

"Later that day they rounded up dozens of people and forced them all to lie down on their stomachs. Then they shot them one by one," he said from the refuge of a Catholic church in Carnot, about 100km away, where he is among 800 seeking shelter from attack.

Hundreds of Muslims remain in Guen, hiding in the town's Catholic church and also at the imam's home.

Those Muslims still in Guen appealed by telephone for African peacekeepers in Carnot to rescue them, according to two Muslim residents who insisted on anonymity because they feared for their lives.

They also confirmed that heavily armed anti-Balaka were still in control of the village on Tuesday. The local commander for the peacekeeping mission said he needed permission from his supervisors in the capital, Bangui, to go to Guen.

Like much of the violence in Central African Republic, the true toll from the attack on Guen may never be known. Most survivors fled deep into the rural bush, hiking to safety in towns further west.

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