There is "a distinct risk" sectarian brutality in conflict-torn Central African Republic could lead to the de facto partition of the country into Christian and Muslim regions, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has warned.

Mr Ban said he was sending assistant secretary general for peacekeeping Edmond Mulet to the country to consult the African Union about possibly transforming the force in the country into a UN peacekeeping unit.

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The UN chief said Christians and Muslims had been forced to flee their homes as violence worsened which was changing the country's demography.

He called on the EU to speed up the deployment of its military operation and said he had asked France to consider sending additional troops, adding: "We must act now."

Picture: EPA