Tuesday, November 26, 2013
France Urges UN Authorize Intervention in Central African Republic, Lest Religious Genocide Worsen There
Beginning of Reuters article on conflict in Central African Republic, which is south of Chad and north of the two Congos:
France said on Thursday that Central African Republic was "on the verge of genocide" and it expected the United Nations to give Paris and the African Union permission to intervene.
Central African Republic, a landlocked nation of 4.6 million people, has slid into chaos since mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, many of them from neighboring Chad and Sudan, ousted President Francois Bozize in March.
Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, installed as interim president, has lost control of his loose coalition of warlords. About 100 people died in fighting between Seleka and Christian militias in September, and thousands of villagers fled renewed clashes this week. Attacks on magistrates in the capital Bangui have fuelled concern about lawlessness.
"The country is on the verge of genocide," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French television station France 2. "France, CAR's neighbors and the international community are worried. The United Nations will give permission to African forces, the African Union and France to intervene."
While U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he may be prepared to deploy U.N. peacekeepers, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has made it plain Washington favors an African peacekeeping force.
Ban said further tensions between communities "might well lead to uncontrollable sectarian violence with untold consequences for the country, the sub-region and beyond".
According to the CIA World Factbook, Christians make up half the population and Muslims 15 percent.
A 2,500-strong regional peacekeeping force is due to be beefed up next month and come under African Union command but there are increasingly urgent appeals for broader international action as the violence escalates.