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April 09, 2014

UN to Authorize New Peacekeeping Force for CAR

by VOA News

The United Nations Security Council is set to authorize a new, expanded peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic.

The Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution on Thursday calling for a force of 10,000 soldiers and 1,800 police to help restore order in the troubled country.

According to a draft resolution seen by VOA, the U.N. force will be operational by September 15, when it will take over from the existing African force in the C.A.R.

Six thousand African troops and 2,000 French troops have been unable to contain sectarian violence that has killed thousands of people.

Attacks by largely Christian militias, known as anti-balaka, have prompted most of the Muslim minority to flee their homes, with many going to neighboring countries.

On Wednesday, local authorities and witnesses told VOA at least 30 people were killed when anti-balaka militants launched an attack in the central town of Dekoa. Most of the victims of Tuesday's attack were civilians.

Local authorities and witnesses say the anti-balaka fighters apparently mistook civilians for the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels.

Anti-balaka militias formed last year in response to a wave of killing and looting, mostly by Seleka forces.

During a visit to the C.A.R. capital of Bangui Saturday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the council to act quickly on his recommendation for an expanded peacekeeping force.

He also called on the C.A.R.'s leaders to do more to stop what he called "ethno-religious cleansing."