World Bulletin / News Desk
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, condemned on Wednesday the religious killings in the Central African Republic (CAR), urging the international community to increasing the number of peacekeepers in the country.
"Indescrimate killings and massacres must be stopped in CAR," Guterres told a brief press conference at Bangui airport.
"Shocking barbarity, brutality and inhumanity have characterized this violence," he read out from a press statement.
"Tens of thousands of people are fleeing the country for their safety and many are trapped with nowhere to go," Guterres added.
He said that in the capital alone thousands of people are living in terrible conditions.
Guterres noted that although a new president, Catherine Samba-Panza, has been elected and a new cabinet formed, they could not effectively protect their citizens.
CAR descended into anarchy in March 2013 when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Francois Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in a 2003 coup, and installed Michel Djotodia as an interim president.
For months, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the anti-balaka and former seleka fighters.
Muslims have been targeted with increasing frequency since Samba-Panza came to office in January.
Christians, who constitute the majority of CAR's population, accuse Muslims of supporting former seleka rebels.
The UN official said the international community should find a sustainable solution for the CAR crisis which could spill across the region if not contained.
"The international community should help this country from its catastrophe by coming together for a significant and immediate increase of peacekeepers on the ground," he asserted.
Currently there are around 1,600 French and 6,000 African peacekeepers in the mineral-rich, landlocked country.
George Okoth-Obbo, the UNHCR Director for the Africa Regional Bureau, said the brutal and inhuman killings happening in CAR were unacceptable.
Asked by Anadolu Agency reporter if UNHCR feared genocide could occur in CAR like it did in Rwanda in 1994, Obbo said: "What is clear is that there have already been killings, murders and massacres on a scale that is simply unacceptable."
He said since December 2013, the UNHCR alone has registered over 50,000 CAR citizens who had been forced to flee the country.
"There are 700,000 CAR citizens registered now as internally displaced persons and right now as we talk there are thousands of people trapped in situations where they can lose their lives," Obbo said.
According to statistics given by UNHCR, some 2.5 million people are in desperate need for humanitarian assistance.Last Mod: 13 Şubat 2014, 12:04