UN warns of genocide in CAR

The CAR has experienced unprecedented violence in the past 14 months.

French troops of the Sangaris Operation take position in the PK12 district of Bangui on 16 January 2014. At least seven people were killed in overnight violence in Bangui. Picture: AFP.

GENEVA - A senior UN humanitarian official warned on Thursday of the risk of genocide in the Central African Republic without a massive scaling up in the international response to the crisis.

"It has all the elements that we have seen elsewhere, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia. The elements are there, the seeds are there, for genocide. There's no question about that," John Ging, director of operations for the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a news conference in Geneva.

The CAR's new interim leader ordered the deployment of hundreds more troops in the capital Bangui on Monday with instructions to shoot troublemakers 'at point blank range' in a bid to end months of religious violence.

Fighting, attacks on mosques and the looting of Muslim-owned shops have persisted in Bangui since the resignation of rebel leader-turned-president Michel Djotodia last Friday under intense international pressure.

Djotodia seized power last March at the head of the Muslim Seleka rebel coalition, unleashing a wave of killings and looting targeting the majority Christian population which in turn sparked revenge attacks by 'anti-balaka' Christian militia.

A Red Cross official said its workers had collected 39 bodies from the streets of Bangui since Friday. Sporadic violence has continued despite the presence of 1,600 French troops and 4,000 African Union peacekeepers.

Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday spoke out about the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the CAR.

He has been attending the fifth International Conference of the Great Lakes Region.