France warns Central African Republic ‘on verge of genocide’

November 21, 2013 9:48 am
People fleeing the violence in the Central African Republic arrive at a camp near the Cathedral in Bossangoa, November 10, 2013/AFP
People fleeing the violence in the Central African Republic arrive at a camp near the Cathedral in Bossangoa, November 10, 2013/AFP

, Paris November 21- France warned on Thursday that the Central African Republic was “on the verge of genocide”, as the UN considers sending thousands of peacekeepers to the strife torn country.

“It’s total disorder,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France 2 television, adding that the United Nations was considering authorising African and French troops to intervene in the country.

“You have seven surgeons for a population of five million, an infant mortality rate of 25 percent in some areas and 1.5 million people who have nothing, not even food, and armed gangs, bandits, etc,” he said.

The former French colony, an impoverished country rich in natural resources, has faced growing chaos since a coalition of rebels known as Seleka staged a coup in March, forcing president Francois Bozize to flee.

The transitional government has lost the grip on the large country of 4.5 million people, with retaliatory attacks between Muslims and Christians on the rise.

The United States called Thursday for sanctions against the leaders of the strife.

The call by the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, added to international concern over the anarchy.

have started sending troops to the country where rebels overthrew the president in March. A transitional government led by a former rebel has since lost control of the huge, impoverished state.

Power said there must be a “swift deployment” of the full African force. She added, in a comment on her Twitter account, that the international community should be “imposing sanctions on perpetrators of violence.”

The call came after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced $40 million of financing for the African force. Kerry said the government was failing to control what he called an “increasingly sectarian” crisis.

Rebels forced President Francois Bozize to flee in March. They were blamed for much of the violence that followed, but the crisis has degenerated into clashes between Christian and Muslim communities.

There are currently about 2,500 African troops in Central African Republic and the number is scheduled to eventually reach 3,600. But diplomats and military experts say this will not be enough to end the chaos.

The Security Council is expected to give the African force time to try to control events, diplomats said. The United States has not yet said publicly whether it would back a peacekeeping force.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon said this week that up to 9,000 troops could be needed if the United Nations does intervene.


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