UN calls for more support in CAR

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the situation in the country as “very dire”.

He says the international community must act fast to stop the killing and protect the civilian population following a coup last year.

PRETORIA - More foreign troops, police and financial support is needed in the Central African Republic (CAR), United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday.

The comments come ahead of Thursday's European Union (EU)-Africa summit in Brussels, Belgium.

He says the current Franco-African peacekeeping force in the CAR isn't enough.

Ki-moon described the situation in the central African country as "dire, very dire."

The UN chief says he'll be asking 80 African and European leaders gathered in Brussels to provide more support.

He says the international community must act fast to stop the killings and protect civilians following a coup last year.

Ki-moon says urgent steps must be taken to prevent further separation of Christian and Muslim communities that have been living together for years.

The United Nations on Tuesday said it was trying to evacuate 19,000 Muslims urgently from Bangui and other parts of the country surrounded by anti-balaka Christian militia threatening their lives.

Anti-balaka forces control major routes to and from the capital as well as many towns and villages in the southwest, the UN refugee agency said.

The militia has become more militarised as it steps up attacks on Muslims and African Union peacekeepers.

Mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago, perpetrating abuses on the majority Christian population that triggered waves of revenge attacks, leading to thousands of deaths and displacing hundreds of thousands more.