When sectarian conflict wrought division in Boda, women in the southern Central African town formed a united front to appeal for calm. Three years on, Muslims and Christians live in greater harmony

Derelict homes, swallowed up by grass and trees, stand empty along the road near to the centre of Boda. There are vacant patches where buildings once stood. When deadly conflict spread to the town in Central African Republic’s southern Lobaye prefecture in 2014, homes were burned and residents fled. The road became known as the “red zone”, a line that separated Muslims and Christians. Thousands were trapped without access to food or medicine. Those who crossed into a rival area risked their lives: murders, decapitations, rapes and looting were carried out with impunity.

But as the fighting spread, Boda’s women refused to obey the town’s battle lines.

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