CAR clashes may be "catastrophic" as elections near

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UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Rupert Colville said the “displacement figures tell the story” in CAR. Photo: UN/Jean-Marc Ferré

Renewed violence in the Central African Republic is worsening and could turn out to be "catastrophic" for the country ahead of national elections, the UN said Tuesday.

The warning from the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, follows the killing of a Muslim taxi driver in the capital Bangui last week.

Clashes and reprisal attacks there have so far claimed at least 37 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people, according to UN agencies.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, believes the renewed violence in the Central African Republic is a deliberate attempt to derail the fragile status quo there.

This flare-up follows the killing of a Muslim taxi driver last week.

That was in the country's capital city, Bangui, where UN rights officials say that reprisal attacks involving Christians, Muslims and ethnic groups have so far killed at least 37 people and injured more than 100 others.

More than 27,000 people have also fled their homes in Bangui and 10,000 of them have sought shelter in the Mpoko camp near the airport. It was already hosting around 11,000 people.

Here's UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Rupert Colville:

"I think what this illustrates people coming back in there now in significant numbers is just how catastrophic this may be turn out to be for CAR"

The upsurge in violence has also been condemned by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR ahead of elections in mid-October; it warned of a return to the so-called "dark days" of the country's conflict 18 months ago, when tens of thousands of people were killed.

UN troops have been deployed to restore order, but on Tuesday morning there was still said to be weapons fire in the capital.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'05"

 

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