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Evidence of mass graves found in Central African Republic

Feb. 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- U.N. officials say a mass grave has been found in Central African Republic after peacekeepers were accused of failing to prevent ethnic cleansing.

On Wednesday, international peacekeepers said they found a barracks holding the bodies of at least 12 Muslim Seleka militia members in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui, The Daily Telegraph, Britain, reported.

Antonio Guterres, the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said Wednesday he saw "a humanitarian catastrophe of unspeakable proportions" during his tour of the country.

"Massive ethno-religious cleansing is continuing," Guterres said. "Shocking barbarity, brutality and inhumanity have characterized this violence."

Christian militias, known as "anti-balakas" have been able to carry out attacks on ethnic Muslims, despite the presence of 1,600 French peacekeeping troops and some 6,000 African Union soldiers, Amnesty International said in a report.

"International forces have failed to swiftly deploy to these areas to protect civilians and have allowed anti-balaka militias to assert themselves," Amnesty said. "As a result, further violence now threatens to spread across the Central African Republic."

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