Situation in Central African Republic "begs world attention" U.S. envoy

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Civil conflict in the Central African Republic has displaced more than half a million people within the country in the last year, the UN says. UNHCR/B. Heger

There is a risk of people taking matters into their own hands in the Central African Republic where atrocities continue to be committed as inter-communal violence rages.

The warning comes from Ambassador Samantha Power, the permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations who recently returned from a visit to the African country.

She says even as the international community grapples with other crises, it should not lose sight of the situation in the Central African Republic.

"The situation in CAR begs the world attention. Terrible atrocities have occurred. Terrible atrocities are occurring. We met with one woman whose husband had been stabbed in front of her, his body then doused in gasoline and then set on fire in front of her very eyes. Part of what those who have survived violence of this nature is justice and one of the worries that we came away from the Central African Republic with was that those who are not seeing justice being done are increasingly tempted to take matters into their own hands." (29")

Ambassador Power, who spoke to reporters late on Monday, says there is already "a cycle of retribution and violence that is very alarming."

On the positive side, she adds, almost everyone with whom she spoke during her mission to the Central African Republic said that the country has had for a long time "a tradition of religious coexistence and religious harmony."

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration:  1’14″

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