U.S. threatens sanctions to curb Central African Republic conflict

John Kerry, U.S Secretary of States

Mr. Kerry urged CAR’s leaders to cease attacks on civilians.

The U.S. is deeply concerned over the escalating clashes in Central African Republic, CAR, and is prepared to impose targeted sanctions against those responsible for the religious-based violence.

The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, gave the warning on Sunday in Washington.

At least eight people were killed in mob violence in the capital, Bangui, on Sunday, the country’s Red Cross said.

A Muslim former minister was hacked to death on Friday by militia, and at least nine others were killed when bands of people, some of them Christian groups, attacked and looted shops in a mostly Muslim neighbourhood in the capital.

“The U.S. is prepared to consider targeted sanctions against those who further destabilise the situation, or pursue their own selfish ends by abetting or encouraging the violence,’’ Mr. Kerry said in a statement.

He urged the country’s leaders to call on supporters to “cease any and all attacks on civilians’’.

“Preventing the violence from gaining further momentum and costing more lives will require all of CAR’s leaders, past and present, to be clear in condemning it,’’ Mr. Kerry said.

Almost one million people, or a quarter of the population in the mineral-rich country, have been displaced by fighting that began when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the majority Christian former French colony in March.

The Christian self-defence groups, known as anti-Balaka or anti-machete has since taken up arms against them.

The UN has estimated that more than 2,000 people have been killed since March.

Mr. Kerry said that the selection of an interim government led by President Catherine Samba-Panza to restore order was an opportunity to rebuild.

He called on neighbouring countries to ensure no arms or other supports to armed groups were allowed to cross into the CAR.


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