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Last updateVen, 30 Jan 2015 9am

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Ban appeals to people of Central African Republic to end conflict

Central African Republic (CAR) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has again taken to the airwaves to deliver a personal appeal to the people of strife-torn Central African Republic (CAR) to lay down their weapons, come together, and end the spiralling bloodshed and inter-communal violence that has plagued the country for months on end.

PANA in New York reports that Ban in a video and audio message, said: 'You are not alone. Many countries are working for peace.'

He informed the people of the CAR that he had appealed to the international community to do much more, in order to provide more troops and police to protect people, as well as more aid to save lives.

In his message, which was recorded in French, English and Sango, the national language, the secretary-general expressed his solidarity with the people and said: 'I am also appealing to you, the people of the Central African Republic, to end the bloodshed...Stop the killings. Lay down your weapons.'

He said those committing violence were only dividing and destroying their beloved country. Muslims and Christians have built your country together. I know you will do so again, Ban said.

He said 'I stand with you and I pledge my full support for peace and reconciliation, justice and accountability for all the people of the Central African Republic.'

The UN chief delivered a similar message on 13 December and the latest broadcast comes on the heels of his briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday at which he put forward a six-point initiative for addressing the country's most urgent priorities and needs, including more troops and police.

Others are increased efforts for the peace process, support for the government, funding for humanitarian assistance and accountability.

The conflict in CAR erupted when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels launched attacks in December 2012 and it has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid.

The UN estimates that nearly half a million children are among the almost 1 million driven from their homes.

Pana 23/02/2014