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CAR: Humanitarian chief says ending violence is a priority

CAR: Humanitarian chief says ending violence is a priority
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There has been a fresh wave of violence in Central African Republic, with shootouts at checkpoints reported on Friday.

A mosque was also destroyed as violence flared anew, after a period of relative calm.

The chaos started when Muslim rebels overthrew the government and installed a Muslim president in March – in what is a majority-Christian nation.

It has sparked attacks by Christian militias against Muslim neighbourhoods, while the Muslim president’s forces are accused of revenge attacks.

UNICEF says stopping the violence is a priority.

“People need protection. People need, communities need to be able to interact with each other, understand and try to calm down at the moment and certainly not go to violence when they have to solve a problem. So I think that is the most important,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

“But of course, in the meantime, we have to do our work as a humanitarian organisation and bring them water and shelter and food so that wherever they are they can survive in dignity in the best conditions,” he continued.

The latest unrest came as France appealed to European partners for assistance in quelling the violence in its former colony. The conflict has left more than 700-thousand people displaced.