Security Council: Central African Republic Poses Major Threat to Regional Stability

Friday, 16 Aug 2013 12:22 PM

By Joel Himelfarb

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The U.N. Security Council warns that the Central African Republic (CAR) has suffered “a total breakdown in law and order” and poses a "serious threat" to regional stability following a rebel takeover, the BBC reported Thursday.

A new declaration, agreed to by all 15 council members, called for unspecified new measures to restore stability. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has recommended sanctions against officials from the ruling Seleka coalition suspected of committing atrocities. The group seized power in March.

Meanwhile, the aid agency Save the Children warned that more than 100,000 children there faced sexual abuse and recruitment into armed groups.

The Ugandan rebel organization Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) - which has reportedly made extensive use of child soldiers - has taken advantage of years of turmoil in the CAR to set up bases in the country.

The Central African Republic also shares borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan - all of them nations plagued by internal turmoil and armed militias operating in the region.

"The country runs the risk of descending into anarchy and chaos," said retired Lt. Gen. Babacar Gaye, the secretary-general’s envoy monitoring events in the CAR.

Fighters from the Seleka coalition - a group which apparently lacks any viable chain of command - are said to be sustaining themselves with looting and crime.

Gaye has expressed concern about plans to absorb some 1,000 former rebels into police and paramilitary forces without prior screening.

He urged the Security Council to support the African Union's 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission in the country.

About one-third of the Central African Republic’s 4.6 million people need assistance with food, shelter, health care or water, said U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who recently visited the country.

More than 200,000 people have fled their homes and many are living rough in the bush, she said.

Save the Children spokesman Mark Kaye said the CAR’s health-care system was in ruins after being looted.

"All the pharmacies have been hit. There are no medications, no drugs, equipment has been stolen,” he said. “I've been to hospitals where even the mattresses have been stolen."

Michel Djotodia, who seized power when Seleka rebels marched into Bangui the capital March 24, has promised to relinquish it after elections scheduled for 2016.




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