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UN launches Central African Republic investigation seeking to avert genocide

African officials say their U.N. Security Council-mandated investigation of human rights abuses in Central African Republic is getting underway in an effort to head off possible genocide.

The chair of the investigation, Bernard Acho Muna, a lawyer from Cameroon who was deputy chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said he and former Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jorge Castaneda and Mauritanian human rights lawyer Fatimata M'Baye will fly to the capital Bangui later Monday and begin the investigation Tuesday.

Muna told reporters Monday in Geneva that the mandate of the yearlong investigation of human rights abuses since the start of 2013 is "to stop any advances toward genocide."

The International Criminal Court also has opened a preliminary investigation as Christian and Muslim group clash in the country.