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Central African Republic in chaos, says UN






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The United Nations has said the Central African Republic needs urgent help. The UN's Jan Eliasson said it was "descending into complete chaos". The nation has been moving towards a state of anarchy since rebels took power in March. Mr Eliasson suggested strengthening the African Union's military presence in the country and turning it into an official peacekeeping operation. Mr Eliasson warned: "If this situation is left to fester, it may develop into a religious and ethnic conflict with long-standing consequences - even a civil war that could spread into neighbouring countries."

Rebels known as the Seleka replaced the former president with their own commander. He later broke up the rebels but they regrouped and formed armed gangs. These now control most of this poor country. Eliasson said the population was "suffering beyond imagination". He said women and children were "bearing the brunt". He also spoke of growing human rights abuses, the use of child soldiers and widespread looting. He listed other crimes, including illegal arrests, torture and summary executions. He warned that the country was becoming "a breeding ground for extremists".

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