Bangui - The Central African Republic has been sliding into
chaos since rebels took over in March, with reports of executions, looting and
epidemics prompting the United Nations to review its options Wednesday.
After ousting Francois Bozize from power, the international
community granted the Seleka rebel alliance de facto recognition and a shot at
steering the nation through a transition period leading to fresh polls.
Five months on however, the picture was bleak, with reports
of widespread rape, child soldier recruitment and weapons proliferation
prompting the UN chief Ban Ki-moon to say the country needed the world's
The Central African Republic's new strongman, ex-rebel boss
Michel Djotodia, vowed to combat insecurity in an address marking the nation's
53rd anniversary of independence from France on Tuesday.
But a UN report said that Djotodia's Seleka fighters, many
of whom have not been paid in months, were to blame for much of the chaos and
that the group's hierarchy is doing little to stop them.
It listed "arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual
violence against women and children, torture, rape, targeted killings,
recruitment of child soldiers and attacks, committed by uncontrolled Seleka
elements and unidentified armed groups throughout the country."
The UN Security Council, the world body's top
decision-making organ, was due Wednesday to discuss the report, which
recommends sanctions against the Seleka, a rag-tag alliance of gunmen led by
Central African, Chadian and Sudanese warlords.
"I call on the Security Council to consider appropriate
options, including the adoption of sanctions or the establishment of a panel of
experts," Ban said.
Rights groups and observers say the new administration - a
broad unity government - wields no influence whatsoever outside Bangui, leaving
the rest of the country prey to marauding Seleka forces.
200 000 internally displaced
The International Federation for Human Rights said in July
it had documented at least 400 murders by Seleka-affiliated groups since March.
Bar a few arrests in Bangui, all those killings have gone unpunished.
The landlocked nation has 4.6 million inhabitants scattered
over a territory larger than France, replete with untapped mineral wealth and
bordering other chronically unstable countries such as DRC, Chad and South
The relentless violence since the March coup has forced tens
of thousands from their homes, with the UN refugee agency reporting on Tuesday
that 4 000 has crossed into Chad over the past month alone.
The UNHCR said more than 60 000 Central Africans had fled
their country and 200 000 been internally displaced since the crisis erupted in
With thousands of families still living in the bush, afraid
to return to their homes, Save the Children warned that children faced
"the threat of sexual abuse, disease and recruitment into armed
The Central African health minister warned Tuesday the
entire territory was affected by a measles outbreak.
At least 1.5 million children have not had access to
vaccination and charities have warned that a public health catastrophe was
developing and not receiving sufficient global attention.
"We're heading towards a massive humanitarian
crisis," one foreign aid worker told AFP in Bangui. "We already have
Mali and Syria... so there's not much left for Central Africa."
As his country descends into lawlessness, the ousted Bozize
- who came to power in a coup 10 years ago - resurfaced in France and said last
week he was ready to take power again "if the opportunity presents