ROME, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Neighbors of the Central African Republic are starting to feel the effects of the religious conflict in the country, the U.N. World Food Program said.
WFP said more than 70,000 people have fled the violence in CAR to Chad since conflict escalated in December. Already, there are more than 100,000 refugees registered from CAR in neighboring countries.
With no end in sight for the bloodshed in CAR, WFP West Africa Regional Director Denise Brown said the situation was getting desperate.
"We are facing a regional crisis that goes well beyond the borders of the Central African Republic," she said in a statement Tuesday from Rome. "These people – most of them women and children – have seen their homes burned and witnessed unspeakable violence and had no choice but to leave."
The Christian anti-balaka militia is accused of committing grave atrocities in CAR. It took up arms against the rival Seleka rebel coalition, which toppled the CAR government last year.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a founding member of peace advocacy group The Elders, said last week the methods used by Christian militia and Seleka were "absolutely ghastly."
The International Criminal Court said earlier this month it was opening an investigation into atrocities committed in CAR.