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UN Proposes 12,000 Peacekeepers for C.A.R.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is proposing a nearly 12,000-strong peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic, where sectarian violence is spinning out of control.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council Monday, Mr. Ban said the force's mandate should initially focus on protecting civilians.

Mr. Ban has previously said that he is concerned the violence in the C.A.R. could lead to the country being divided.

There are already 6,000 African Union soldiers in the country along with 2,000 French troops. The European Union has promised to send another 1,000 soldiers.

Mr. Ban said it will take the United Nations approximately six months to prepare for the deployment of its operation.

The Central African Republic was plunged into chaos a year ago when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled the president and went on a rampage of killing and looting.

In response, Christian and animist groups, known as anti-Balaka, have sprung up and gone on the offensive, forcing tens of thousands of Muslims to flee their homes.

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