CAR civilians living in fear, ICRC says

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said though a political crisis in Central African Republic is over much of the civilian population lives in fear.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has a "unique opportunity" to lead the strife-torn country out of a violent past.


The interim president, the first women to lead the Central African Republic since independence in 1960, took over after President Michel Djotodia agreed to resign.

Djotodia was a rebel leader from the Seleka coalition that toppled the CAR government in March. He quickly lost control over the Sunni rebel group and the conflict took on a religious tone when members of the Christian anti-balaka militia took up arms against Seleka.

Georgios Georgantas, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in CAR, said Wednesday the organization buried more than 60 bodies and treated more than two dozen people for injuries since the weekend.

"The transitional authorities of the CAR and the international armed forces in the country must take immediate action to provide security," he said in a statement. "Until that happens, people will continue to live in fear."


The U.N. Security Council last year authorized a French military intervention to support an African Union peacekeeping mission in CAR, one of the poorest countries in the world.

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