Central African Republic leader denies genocide, Christian-Muslim war threats

December 2, 2013

(Soldiers stand guard as interim Central African Republic’s President Michel Djotodia attends a ceremony in Bangui, November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney)

Central African Republic transitional leader Michel Djotodia on Saturday denied European assertions that his country was on the brink of genocide and all-out inter-religious war.

The impoverished but mineral-rich nation of 4.6 million has descended into chaos since Djotodia led Seleka rebels, many of them from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, to the riverside capital in March, ousting President Francois Bozize.

Though Djotodia has dissolved the rebel coalition, which has been accused of human rights abuses, his government’s failure to stem the violence has prompted calls at the U.N. Security Council for international intervention to restore order.

France is preparing to boost its force in its anarchic former colony to at least 1,000 soldiers once a U.N. resolution is passed next week to improve security until a 3,600-strong African Union (AU) force is operational.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned last week that the country was “on the verge of genocide”.

EU humanitarian chief Kristalina Georgieva said the country faced the twin risk of a state collapse and potential genocide because of the increasing tit-for-tat killings between the Christian majority and Seleka-backing Muslims.

Read the full story by Joe Penney here.

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