BANGUI, Central African Republic — Thousands of Muslims climbed aboard trucks protected by heavily armed Chadian soldiers in a mass exodus on Friday from the capital of Central African Republic.
Their flight followed months of escalating attacks on anyone perceived as supporting a now-defunct Muslim rebel government blamed for scores of atrocities during its rule of the predominantly Christian country.
In The Hague, Netherlands, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced a preliminary investigation into potential war crimes or crimes against humanity, saying the crisis had ‘‘gone from bad to worse’’ since September.
Crowds of Christians gathered to cheer the convoy’s departure for Chad, which is mostly Muslim. It was a somber farewell for those who had in some cases lived alongside Christians for generations here and have few ties to Chad.