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CAR abuses 'horrific,' rights group says

May 10, 2013 at 10:07 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, May 10 (UPI) -- The rebel Seleka coalition that took control over Central Africa Republic needs to end its legacy of abuse, Human Rights Watch said.

Seleka ousted CAR President Francois Bozize in March. The United Nations estimates at least 173,000 people were internally displaced and another 50,000 fled to neighboring countries to escape the conflict.

Seleka seized the capital and installed its own leaders. It said it would allow elections in three years The United Nations and human rights groups allege the rebel group committee crimes against humanity, however.

Human Rights Watch said crimes ranging from the killing of civilians to rape occurred "in broad daylight." African rights director for Human Rights Watch Daniel Bekele said that if Seleka is serious about addressing previous wrongs, it needs to rein in many of its own members.

"It should immediately end its horrific abuses," he said in a statement. "The government should show it is committed to the rule of law by investigating and prosecuting attacks by Seleka troops against civilians."

State Minister for Public Security Noureddine Adam told the rights group Seleka had control over its troops. Authorities said many of the documented abuses were carried out by supporters of the Bozize administration or by "fake" Seleka members.

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