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Hatred between Christians, Muslims in Central African Republic at terrifying level, UN says

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A young street vendor selling eggs walks past a demonstration held by several hundred merchants calling for peace as negotiators prepare for talks with rebels from the north, in downtown Bangui, Central African Republic Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. The U.N. Security Council urged rebels in the Central African Republic on Friday to halt their military offensive, withdraw from cities they have seized, and take part in negotiations to find a political solution to the impoverished country's longstanding problems. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)The Associated Press

The U.N.'s top human rights official is warning that hatred between Christian and Muslim communities in Central African Republic is now "at a terrifying level."

Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Thursday deplored the violence that has included decapitating children and acts of cannibalism.

And she questioned whether there would be a "far stronger and more dynamic reaction by the outside world" if the atrocities were not taking place in a little-known African country.

Some 6,000 African peacekeepers and 2,000 French troops are trying to stabilize the country, but have a limited presence outside the capital, Bangui.

Pillay said even those carrying bloody machetes and severed body parts are not being arrested because the country has no law and order apart from the foreign troops.