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CAR peace strained by humanitarian needs

Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:44 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Looting is widespread in parts of Central African Republic as humanitarian workers struggle to address growing needs, a U.N. refugee agency spokesman said.

Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, called on the CAR government and Seleka rebels to do more to address humanitarian needs in the country.

"According to our colleagues, community facilities, the distribution center and the warehouse of an (non-governmental organization) partner, have all been looted," he said.

CAR is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has a history of political violence, though a Jan. 11 cease-fire deal between CAR leaders and the rebel Seleka group outlined a power-sharing agreement lauded by the United Nations.

A Seleka rebel campaign was meant to pressure President Francois Bozize to step aside.

Edwards said they may be as many as 80,000 people displaced by conflict.

"UNHCR is appealing to the government and the Seleka rebels to facilitate better access for humanitarians to populations in need," he said in a statement from Geneva.

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