U.N. warns of risk of genocide in Central African Republic

 

(Reuters) – A senior U.N. humanitarian official warned on Thursday of the risk of genocide in Central African Republic without a massive scaling up in the international response to the crisis.

The country descended into chaos last year after a Muslim rebel coalition, Séléka, seized power, unleashing a wave of killings and looting that in turn sparked revenge attacks by the “anti-balaka” Christian militia.

“It has all the elements that we have seen elsewhere, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia. The elements are there, the seeds are there, for a genocide. There’s no question about that,” John Ging, director of operations for the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a news conference in Geneva.

Ging, just back from a five-day trip to the country, said the crisis was foreseen, avoidable and produced by the international community’s neglect over many years.

A U.N. human rights spokesman said earlier this week that intercommunal violence had risen to “extraordinary vicious levels”, but Ging said it was incorrect to describe the situation as intercommunal violence, although an extremely violent minority were intent on inciting a wider conflict.