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Chad helping Seleka in CAR, Human Rights Watch says

Feb. 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch said Wednesday there were signs peacekeepers from Chad were helping Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic regroup.

"If the African Union is truly going to protect civilians in the Central African Republic, it needs to rein in the rogue activities of the Chadian peacekeeping troops," Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "The Chadian forces should not be enabling the Seleka to prey on civilians."

Human Rights Watch said Seleka rebels left their bases in Bangui, the CAR capital, and resettled in the northwest of the country with Chadian assistance. The organization said there were signs Seleka rebels "tortured and killed" civilians in parts of the region in January.

Catherine Samba-Panza was selected as the interim CAR president to help lead the country out of the crisis. She took over from Michel Djotodia, who agreed to resign earlier this month.

Djotodia's rebel Seleka coalition toppled the CAR government in March, though he quickly lost control of the rebel force. Conflict has approached the brink of civil war since the Christian anti-balaka militia took up arms against Sunni Muslim fighters loyal to Seleka.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said during talks Tuesday with U.N. General Assembly John Ashe he was "deeply concerned by the extreme insecurity and instability in the Central African Republic."

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