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UN Chief Urges End to Ethnic Violence in Central African Republic

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging leaders of the troubled Central African Republic to heed the lessons of Rwanda and do more to stop what he called "ethno-religious cleansing."

The CAR has seen sectarian violence that has killed thousands of people and forced most of the Muslim minority to flee the country.

Mr. Ban visited the CAR's capital, Bangui, Saturday on his way to Rwanda for a memorial to the 800,000 victims of genocide in 1994.

In a speech, Mr. Ban said the international community failed the people of Rwanda and are at risk of not doing enough for the people of the CAR.

He has urged members of the U.N. Security Council to act quickly on his recommendation for a 12,000 member peacekeeping force.

However, Mr. Ban said peacekeepers alone cannot provide the answer to all the country's challenges and that success will require a strong commitment to peace from Central Africans themselves and close coordination among all partners.



Mr. Ban's comments came after Chad began withdrawing its troops from the African peacekeeping mission in the CAR following allegations of involvement in attacks on civilians. A U.N. report says Chadian soldiers killed 30 civilians and wounded more than 300 others in a crowded market last month. The government in Chad denies the allegations. Chad has around 850 troops in the CAR.

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