By:  Eric Ombok

The United Nations said it plans to deploy more peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic diamond-mining town of Bangassou to stem a recent wave of violence.

Almost three quarters of the 35,000 inhabitants of the southeastern town need humanitarian assistance following the unrest, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

The additional forces are being deployed to “neutralize attackers, protect civilians and facilitate critical humanitarian support to the population,” Dujarric said.

The Central African Republic has been riven by violence since a coalition of mainly Muslim rebels overthrew President Francois Bozize in 2013. The country was the world’s 10th-biggest diamond producer by value in 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On Monday, new clashes erupted in the southern prefectures of Bria and Alindao, Dujarric said. In Bria, about 1,000 people near the UN mission’s base were displaced, while more than 500 sought refuge at a UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance compound. In Alindao, as many as 8,500 people have been displaced by clashes, he said.

“Unverified figures indicate that up to 100 people may have been killed,” Dujarric said without providing further details.

 Source: Bloomberg