Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, Adama Dieng says he was “very sorry” to see escalating violence in Central African Republic.
He added that Bria, a town that has seen some of the worst recent fighting, is split along religious lines.
Dieng, who advises the UN chief on prevention of genocide was on a six-day visit to the country, where a surge in militia fighting in several hotspots since May has driven the number of people displaced to over 1.1 million.
I must say that in Bria I was very sorry to see a city cut in two; to see on the one hand the Christian populations, on the other hand the Muslim population.
“I must say that in Bria I was very sorry to see a city cut in two; to see on the one hand the Christian populations, on the other hand the Muslim population; a civilian population who in both camps experienced victims. And my wish is to see these people gather together,” Dieng said after meeting residents and officials.
Conflict broke out in CAR after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka (anti-machete) militias.
Although unrest subsided, fighting spiked this year. The UN has warned that ethnic fighting could descend again into a much larger conflict if combatants are not disarmed.
Dieng is calling for perpetrators of violence to face justice.
He intimated that “What is needed now more than ever is for people to know that if these crimes continue, the perpetrators of these crimes, the sponsors, those who have the means to stop them and who do not will one day face justice because the rule of impunity is over”.
Dieng’s goal according to the UN is to explore ways to reduce inter-community tensions and ensure the protection of civilian populations.
CAR president Faustin-Archange Touadera, in September pleaded with the world not to forget his country and urged the U.N. to bolster its peace-keeping force amid growing violence.