"There is nothing, nothing for us here. We are only suffering — us, our wives, our children," said one man fleeing for neighboring Chad.
In a country that has seen five coups and several military rebellions since its independence in 1960, this particular humanitarian crisis is raising alarms in the international community.
"Central Africa is a humanitarian catastrophe. There is an ethnic-religious cleansing taking place. It must be stopped," said Antonio Guterres, chief of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The poor landlocked country has been descending into chaos for close to a year now.
The Seleka coalition — a group of five rebel groups from the country’s Muslim-dominated north — overthrew the central government last March. A systematic campaign of rape, looting and murder by Seleka soldiers soon followed.
In December, after months of spiraling sectarian strife, the region’s former colonial power, France, initially sent 1,600 soldiers to try to bring order to the streets, alongside 5,500 African Union troops.
The European-African alliance eventually pressured Seleka leader Michel Djotodia to step down from the government last month. Catherine Samba Panza is the interim president.
But now the anti-Balakas and the country’s Christian population are swearing revenge against the Seleka and Muslim communities, forcing thousands to leave.
"Our greatest fear is that in a few weeks, there will be no Muslims in Bangui or in the west of the country," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.