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U.S. ambassador: ‘What appear to be crimes against humanity’ in C.A.R.

December 19th, 2013
03:31 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Crimes against humanity may have been committed in Central African Republic, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday from the capital of that country, Bangui.

“I don't think we…know the full scale of what has happened here in recent days, weeks and months,” she said. “But I certainly agree that what appear to be crimes against humanity have been committed.”

Both sides of the conflict, she said, are responsible for those offenses – both the Muslim Seleka militias that overthrew the president earlier this year, and the rival Christian groups that sprung up in retaliation.

“We met with one 20-year-old woman today who watched her husband get stabbed to death right in front of her,” she said. He was “then covered with kerosene and then lit on fire – literally burned to a crisp before her very eyes.”

That happened, she said, just last Thursday.

Though the situation has calmed somewhat, she told Amanpour, there is still “palpable fear on the ground and palpable mistrust.”

France has sent 1,600 troops under United Nations mandate into Central African Republic to assist African troops.

The United States, though not contributing troops, is using its airplanes to ferry in troops from across Africa.

Speaking with Amanpour on Tuesday, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner offered an impassioned plea for intervention.

“Were we supposed to let them die? We were facing an eventual, or the beginning of a bloodbath.”

“I agree,” Power said. “It really could have descended very, very quickly into a bloodbath.”

“One of the reasons that the president asked me to take the trip here is to assess the situation up front, to try to look ahead and see what will be needed.”

It is important, Power said, that “we walk and chew gum at the same time.”

In other words, “deal with the crisis at hand” but also make sure that if “it was deemed necessary to bring in a peacekeeping mission, that we be in a position to do that more quickly than otherwise.”

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. amit mishra

    Absolutely amazing and pretty interesting to read,absolutely agree with my honey,its really pretty important issue in central African republic situation not good enough,violence and killing normal on street.

    My amazing,expert,genius,dazzling beauty Margaret Brennan CBS news mentioned regarding CAR condition and how united states and united nation work as responsible nation.
    here is link

    Regarding my amazing honey Margaret condition in central Africa pretty bad over there,as you mentioned honey you can say due to weak political condition,weak security failed to stop violence between religion group like Muslim and christian,regional transit government unable to stop violence and unable provide security to civilian,

    According to Washington- post news at least 500 people have been killed,according to CNN news 400,000 people have been displaced,i watched report united stated and united nation provide enough help to make safe place for refugee,amazing work.

    Margaret also agree with Samantha power said united states provide $15 million in humanitarian aid,Mr Obama already announced $100 million help for humanitarian and military assistant to bring stability in this region,1000 french troops also doing great job as peacekeeper,

    Margaret mentioned ,we want peace in the region,but poverty you know poorer nation in the Africa,people have not enough money,economical condition very bad,but united nation and united states doing wonderful job to as responsible to bring stability and peace,protect civilian from militant group

    December 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  2. Matt

    I think it's crimes against humans really, not "humanity". Crimes against "humanity" sounds like trying to be religious without being religious, like crimes against "God", only without God.

    December 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  3. Afam Aminu Chimezie

    Africans are so hungry for power which is not used wisely.D South Sudanese are now engaged in internal strife only two yrs after independence.Corruption is d driving force in all d crisis.No leader is ready to develop his country,but for selfish desires.

    December 26, 2013 at 2:06 am | Reply

    WELL Think you so much Amanpour for your great job for my country and i will be very grateful to hear from you again and i will love to meet you personally Central African Republic is my country but what happen in Mali is same that is happening to my country please i will be very please to ask for United NATION and African UNION to keep on helping my country all i want is just peace i am tired of fledgling my country to another country i am tired humanitarian crimes whether you are Muslim or Christian we are all the same we are Human being please Seleka , Anti Balaka stop war and live my country alone i need to live in my country peacefully please please please go go go Seleka Go Anti Balaka leave the creature of God i am christian this is my number 23740 56 85 24 i live in Cameroon Yaounde for now

    January 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Reply
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