A Muslim resident, angry at the arrival of French soldiers in the 5th Arrondissement, shuts the window shade of an armored personnel carrier while shouting threats, in Bangui. Picture: Rebecca Blackwell

Luanda - The African Union called on countries in the Great Lakes region Wednesday to reinforce a peacekeeping mission in the conflict-torn Central African Republic to “definitively stabilise the situation” there.

AU special representative for the Great Lakes Boubacar Diarra told regional leaders meeting in Angola that African force MISCA, which currently has about 4,500 soldiers, needed more troops.

The continental body “calls on your authority to provide the means for MISCA - whose numbers were projected at 6 000 - to comfortably pursue its mandate,” Diarra said.

The Central African Republic has been devastated by months of Christian-Muslim fighting that the AU-backed force and a separate French mission of 1 600 soldiers known as Sangaris are trying to contain.

Despite the deployments, the violence claimed 1 000 lives in the last month alone.

According to the United Nations, almost a million people have been uprooted throughout the country.

“The commission of the AU... would like to call on your conference to allow MISCA to deploy to its fullest capacity and contribute together with Sangaris... to definitively stabilise the situation,” said Diarra.