Crowds gather and take photos on their mobiles of man being stabbed by Central African Republic soldier
Crowds gather and take photos on their mobiles of man being stabbed by Central African Republic soldierReuters

As many as 11 officers of the Christian anti-Balaka militia in the Central African Republic have been arrested as the country presses ahead with a major disarmament programme, according to an AP report.

The militia members have been charged with war crimes against the remaining Muslims in the country.

However, the accused have not been named and the specific allegations against them have not been divulged to the media.

This is the first time the interim CAR government has taken such drastic measures to curtail the spiralling violence.

Anti-Balaka (anti-machete) was a militia formed to oust Michel Djotodia, the former interim head of CAR, who was installed by the Seleka Muslim rebel faction.

The clashes between Anti-Balaka and Seleka gave way to sectarian violence which claimed thousands of lives and displaced over a million people.

The retreat of Seleka in January prompted ethnic cleansing of Muslims, perpetrated by some factions of the Christian Anti-Balaka.

The country's interim prime minister, Andre Nzapayeke, met Anti-Balaka leaders, and many of them are willing to cooperate with the international community, the AFP reports.

A section of the militia is prepared to discipline the army to end the ethnic targeting, even though there may be other factions in the group who are not as amenable to bringing the armed attacks on citizenry to an end.

"The 'anti-balaka' was a single entity but problems have appeared and there is today a split," captain Joachim Kokate told AFP.

"Today there are several factions within the Anti-Balaka'," Kokate said.

"We wanted to talk to the prime minister about the security problem," he added.

Nzapayeke was hopeful that "there were among the 'anti-balaka' fewer and fewer extremists who agree to reclaim their place in the nation".

About 5,000 African Union MISCA forces are deployed in CAR at present while there are about 1,600 French troops stationed in the country as well.

The European Union wants to send an additional 1,000 troops to CAR, pending approval from the African Union and the UN Security Council.