UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. chief’s special adviser on genocide prevention is warning of a “high risk of crimes against humanity and of genocide” in the Central African Republic.

Adama Dieng and other U.N. officials briefed the Security Council on Wednesday on the continuing and unprecedented violence between Christians and Muslims in one of the world’s poorest countries.

They spoke of children being beheaded, entire villages burned and a complete breakdown of law and order, and they urged the deployment of more peacekeepers as soon as possible.

But they expressed hope at this week’s election of an interim president who is the first female leader in the country’s history, and at the $496 million in humanitarian assistance newly pledged by international donors.

An untold number of people have been killed since a March 2013 coup by Muslim rebels, and the previous peace between Muslims and Christians in the largely rural, landlocked country has been shattered.

“The level of hatred between these communities shocked me,” Dieng said, listing widespread reports of summary executions, mutilation and sexual violence.


The U.N. officials welcomed the approval by European Union foreign ministers this week of a potential joint military force of about 500 troops to assist the roughly 1,600 French troops and about 4,600 African troops trying to restore order.

The U.N. does not have a peacekeeping force in the country, but there is interest among Security Council members.

Dieng and the other officials spoke after a visit to the Central African Republic last month.

Among the numbers they shared:

Nearly a million people displaced, about half of them children.

As many as 6,000 children possibly associated with armed groups.

About 100,000 people sleeping in the open at the airport at the capital, Bangui.

Thousands of others hiding out in the forest.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.