Bangui (Central African Republic) — The foreign minister of the
Central African Republic on Saturday rejected international warnings
that his impoverished, strife-torn country could be headed for genocide.
alarm has grown over the violence wracking the mineral-rich country
since a March coup, with the United Nations, the United States and
former colonial ruler France all recently cautioning the situation could
degenerate into genocide.
But Foreign Minister Leonie Banga Bothy
told local radio that the statements were not helping the situation in
the country and could have a perverse effect.
"We can't speak of a genocide of an ethnic or social group," he said.
statements on an international level can lead people to believe there
is an imminent danger and to arm themselves to prepare for this
genocide. And that is not what we want.
"The security situation is
worrying in certain regions of our country and in several areas of the
capital. But a lot of bold and positive measures have been taken. And we
hope that in the face of some of the results, we will be able to
stabilise the situation in our country.
"To speak of pre-genocide
or of genocide, I think this will have perverse effects on the
population, which has already suffered a great deal and which at the
moment does not need any additional paranoia."
country of five million people with a history of coups and rebellions
has been beset by strife since the Seleka rebel coalition ousted
president Francois Bozize in March and put the country's first Muslim
leader, President Michel Djotodia, in power in the mostly-Christian
The transitional government has little control over the
rest of the country where armed groups -- the remnants of successive
rebellions, mutinies and insurgencies -- hold sway over a people facing
atrocities, food shortages and the collapse of health care.
parts of the country, fighting has broken out between mainly Muslim
former rebels who seized power in March and militia groups set up to
protect Christian communities, which make up about 80 percent of the
population. Both churches and mosques have been razed to the ground.
In Bangui, killings have been blamed on ex-rebels of the Seleka coalition led by Djotodia before he dissolved it.
in the city culminated on November 17 with the murder of a leading
judge, who was gunned down by former Seleka forces, provoking clashes in
which two civilians died.
To curb the unrest, Djotodia on Friday
said he was re-instating a curfew in Bangui from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am and
on Saturday evening, security forces could be seen on the major
intersections of the capital.
The UN Security Council plans to
vote in early December on a resolution that would allow the CAR's
neighbours, the African Union and France to intervene.