CAR war crimes widespread, U.N. told

UNITED NATIONS, July 25 (UPI) -- Members of the Seleka rebel coalition in the Central African Republic are suspected of systematic killings of civilians, a U.N. special envoy said.

U.N. special envoy to CAR Babacar Gaye briefed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the crisis under way in CAR.


The rebel Seleka coalition is accused of committing war crimes in its campaign in CAR. The movement toppled the government in March.

Ban issued a statement through his spokesman's office saying war crimes were widespread in the country.

"Human rights defenders were targeted and threatened by Seleka, and [they] reported several attempts to remove evidence of abuses, looting and destruction of public property, occupation of schools and recruitment of children," Ban's statement said Wednesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned in early June the onset of the rainy season may exacerbate a humanitarian situation already complicated by security challenges. The group said it was frustrated because the "severity of the problems in CAR" have been "largely been neglected by both the international community and the media."

More than 200,000 people in CAR were displaced internally by conflict and 55,000 others have fled the country.


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