UN chief calls for calm in CAfrica

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for calm in Central African Republic, where at least 24 people were killed in attacks in the capital Bangui targeting a church and a mosque.

Guterres condemned Tuesday's attacks, which also left about 170 people wounded, and "urges all actors to cease violence and work together to bring peace and stability to the country," his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General calls for calm and urges the Central African Republic authorities to investigate these repeated attacks and quickly bring those responsible to justice."

The violence erupted when men in a well-known local militia group rammed through a roadblock. Armed men then stormed a church in the middle of a service, killing worshippers and a priest.

In response, a mob burned a mosque and lynched two people believed to be Muslim.

The violence has raised fears that the country, one of the most unstable in the world, could again plunge into a bloody sectarian conflict.

Guterres expressed concern about what he called "inflammatory rhetoric," adding: "There is no justification for incitement to violence or hate speech."

CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera governs with the support of a large UN peacekeeping operation, yet can only claim to control a fraction of the country.