The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a resolution authorising European Union troops to use force in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has been wracked by inter-religious violence over the past few months.
The EU has already approved a military operation to deploy up to 600 soldiers to CAR, where French and African forces are struggling to stem the fighting.
The country descended into chaos after the Seleka rebels deposed president François Bozizé in a March 2013 coup. The group’s leader, Michel Djotodia, briefly assumed the presidency, officially disbanding the predominantly Muslim rebels.
Some of Seleka’s former members, however, went rogue and launched a campaign of killing, raping and looting, prompting some Christian communities to form vigilante militias.
At least 2,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the violence, while nearly another one million – or a quarter of the population – have been displaced. The UN has warned that the conflict is at risk of spiraling into genocide.
The UN resolution included sanctions against the leaders of the warring sides, which have been blamed for massacres and human rights abuses, but did not name initial targets for the measures.
It also called on CAR’s interim government to quickly hold new elections. Both sides have agreed to hold elections by February 2015 but the UN Security Council has urged that they be held in the second half of 2014 if possible.
News of the resolution came shortly before CAR’s new interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, said that she would ask the United Nations to send a peacekeeping mission.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-28