Amnesty: Exodus of thousands of Muslims in C. African Republic amounts to ethnic cleansing

Amnesty International is warning that the exodus of tens of thousands of Muslims from Central African Republic amounts to ethnic cleansing.

In a report released Wednesday, the international human rights group said that the sectarian bloodshed now underway is a "tragedy of historic proportions" that could set a dangerous precedent for other countries in the region.

Joanne Mariner, senior crisis adviser for the group in Central African Republic, acknowledged it is a big step to use such language to describe the conflict. But she says it is justified "given the level of violent and purposeful displacement" that is taking place.

The wave of violence against Muslim civilians is being committed by Christian militiamen who stepped up their attacks as a Muslim government crumbled in January.