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US Readying $40 Million for CAR Peacekeepers

FILE - Displaced residents fleeing sectarian violence were cordoned off by military at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic.
The United States is preparing to send $40 million in aid to help stabilize the Central African Republic.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the assistance in a statement late on Wednesday, highlighting what he called "deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness" as well as increasing sectarianism and the abuse of civilians.

Much of the Central African Republic has descended into chaos since the rebel coalition Seleka overthrew president Francois Bozize in March.

The African Union is set to take charge of a planned 3,500-troop force next month that has been tasked with returning order, protecting civilians and restoring the central government's authority. About 2,500 personnel have been deployed thus far.

Kerry said the peacekeepers are in the best position to quickly address ongoing violence in the Central African Republic, and that the aid will provide them logistical support, non-lethal equipment and training.

He highlighted the lack of an effective government, saying there is "no evidence" that the country's transitional authority is capable of ending the violence, particularly rights abuses committed by Seleka rebels.

His concerns echo those expressed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a report to the U.N. Security Council last week. Ban said the country lacks a national authority able to guarantee the security of the state or its people.

The conflict has displaced 400,000 people internally and created a humanitarian situation that, Ban said, has affected all of the 4.6 million people living in the C.A.R.

Last month, the Security Council voted to send a special 250-member force to protect U.N. personnel in Bangui, the country's capital.

The Central African Republic has endured a long series of coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960.