Groups warn insecurity compounds aid crisis affecting millions in Central African Republic

Human rights and aid groups say continued insecurity in Central African Republic has compounded a humanitarian crisis affecting the country's entire population of 4.6 million people.

Nine aid agencies issued a joint statement Friday saying there was an $80 million funding gap to address a deteriorating situation that has left 60,000 people facing severe food shortages.

Researchers at Human Rights Watch have confirmed attacks on 34 villages and towns since February, leading to the deaths of at least 40 civilians and the destruction of more than 1,000 houses.

The rights group said this week that many of the attacks were carried out by fighters from the Seleka rebel coalition, which ousted President Francois Bozize in March. A minister in the transitional government said Seleka fighters were not responsible.