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Ibrahim Abakar sleeps with a machete at his side, terrified the darkness will bring death or disappearance as it did for his wife and young sons when armed Christian fighters showed up at their door in the capital of Central African Republic. Returning to the land of his birth isn’t an option though — South Sudan is now on the brink of civil war, mired in conflict just as the area was when he fled from there more than two decades ago. Abakar’s dilemma underscores the volatility of this corner of the world, where the deepening crisis in Central African Republic has forced some to flee across borders to desperately poor and unstable countries like Chad and Congo. Central African Republic has long teetered on the brink of anarchy, but the new unrest unleashed by a March 2013 coup has ignited previously unseen sectarian hatred between Christians and Muslims. More than 1,000 people were killed in December alone and nearly 1 million displaced.

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