Nearly 1,000 men were killed over a two-day period this month in the Central African Republic, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights group said Wednesday that war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed in that country.
"Crimes that have been committed include extrajudicial executions, mutilation of bodies, intentional destruction of religious buildings such as mosques, and the forced displacement of massive numbers of people," said Christian Mukosa, Amnesty International's Central Africa expert.
The country has seen violence and chaos since the Muslim-backed Seleka militia and other rebel groups from the marginalized northeast seized the capital Bangui in March. President Francios Bozize fled to Cameroon, and Michel Djotodia, who had been one of the Seleka leaders, made himself President.
Djotodia later officially disbanded the Seleka, but as many as 15,000 kept their arms and instead continued to wreak havoc in Bangui and elsewhere. They mainly targeted Christian communities, which in turn formed their own vigilante group, the anti-balaka (literally "anti-machete").
Anti-balaka forces staged an early morning attack in the capital on December 5, going door to door in some neighborhoods and killing approximately 60 Muslim men, Amnesty International said.
De facto government forces, known as ex-Seleka, retaliated against Christians, killing nearly 1,000 men over a two-day period, according to the rights group. A small number of women and children also were killed.
In a statement, Amnesty International called for the deployment of a "robust" U.N. peacekeeping force, with a mandate to protect civilians, and enough resources to do so effectively.
"The continuing violence, the extensive destruction of property, and the forced displacement of the population in Bangui are feeding enormous anger, hostility and mistrust," said Mukosa.
"There can be no prospect of ending the cycle of violence until the militias are disarmed and there is proper and effective protection for the thousands of civilians at risk in the country.
Residential neighborhoods must be made safe as an urgent priority in order to allow people to go back to their homes and resume their normal lives."
The Central African Republic is about the size of France and a country rich in resources, including diamonds, gold, timber and ivory. The former French colony has rarely seen political stability or economic growth in the 53 years since it gained independence.
In a plea deal reached between the prosecution and defense, newlywed Jordan Linn Graham, accused of pushing her husband over a Montana cliff, has agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for waiving a first-degree murder charge and a lying to investigators charge, the prosecutor said Thursday.FULL STORY
The George Zimmerman murder trial is over, but details from the case continue to emerge at a dizzying pace.
Several jurors have spoken out after the verdict. The prosecution's key witness has been offered a full ride to college. And Attorney General Eric Holder blasted "stand your ground" laws but gave no hint about whether Zimmerman will face civil rights charges.
Here's the latest on the Zimmerman trial aftermath:FULL STORY
Hurricane Barbara crashed ashore Wednesday afternoon along Mexico's southern Pacific coast.
Barely a hurricane, Barbara made landfall in the state of Chiapas, about 20 miles west of Tonala, the U.S.-based National Hurricane Center said.
Barbara had sustained winds of 75 mph, and was moving north-northeast at 9 mph. It was located about 80 miles east of Salina Cruz, in the state of Oaxaca, according to the hurricane center's last advisory.FULL STORY
NASA is planning to catch an asteroid and place it in orbit around the moon.
What sounds like something from science fiction is actually a part of President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget for the next fiscal year, according to a Florida senator.
The budget is expected to be unveiled this week.FULL STORY
With each new blaze that erupts in Virginia, the urgency to arrest a "group" of arsonists grows.
At least 71 fires have occurred in Accomack County since November, the latest reported Monday.
And in each case, whoever is responsible slips away into the night, unnoticed.FULL STORY
Authorities in Florida gave up the search Saturday for a man presumed dead after a sinkhole opened beneath the bedroom of his family's suburban Tampa home, swallowing him up.
The effort to recover the body of Jeff Bush had resumed earlier in the day after authorities stopped operations overnight, saying the hole was still expanding and the house could collapse at any time.
"We just have not been able to locate Mr. Bush and so for that reason the rescue effort is being discontinued," Mike Merrill, county administrator for Hillsborough County, told reporters Saturday evening. "At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."FULL STORY
Debris flew into the stands, injuring some spectators, during a crash Saturday during the final turn of a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway.
The multi-car crash occurred near the end of the Nationwide Series race at the same Florida track where Sunday's Daytona 500 will be held.
The impact caused material to soar into various places, some of it reaching the second level of the stands about 20 feet up. An engine was among the parts that broke loose and plowed into the protective fence separating the track from spectators.FULL STORY
Iran said Saturday that it downed and captured another "enemy drone," the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
The incident reportedly took place during Iranian military maneuvers in southern Iran.
"IRGC's electronic warfare systems detected electronic signals, which indicated that foreign drones intended to enter our country," said Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Lt. Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, Fars reported. "Our specialist forces then succeeded in bringing down the drone in the field of maneuvers."FULL STORY
Talk about good karma.
Well-wishers from around the world are opening their wallets to a homeless man who returned a diamond engagement ring to its rightful owner, after she accidentally dropped it in his donation cup.
"I actually feel like I'm especially lucky to have this ring now. I loved it before. I loved it so much, but I love it so much more now. I feel like it has such great karma," Sarah Darling told CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."FULL STORY
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa swept to an easy re-election Sunday in a vote that showcased stability and the popularity of his left-leaning social and economic programs.
With almost 40% of ballots counted, Correa claimed 57% of the vote.
His closest competitor, Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, garnered 24% of the vote. He conceded.FULL STORY
Authorities in Texas shot and killed an escaped prisoner early Saturday, several days after they say he stabbed a detective tasked with taking him across the country.
Alberto Morales, 42, was killed shortly after he was located in a wooded area in Grapevine, near Dallas, said Grapevine Police Department spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling.
With the help of a helicopter, authorities found Morales not far from a home where someone stole jewelery and men's clothing.
"At this point, as far as the investigation is concerned, Mr. Morales was shot and is now deceased. This matter is still under investigation ... and we'll have more details at a later point," Eberling told reporters.FULL STORY
A Catholic hospital in hot water for claiming in a Colorado court that a fetus is not a person backtracked on Monday, saying it was "morally wrong" to make the argument while defending itself in a wrongful death lawsuit.FULL STORY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has overcome a respiratory infection he contracted after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba last month, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas told reporters today.
But the president still has some breathing problems and his treatment continues, Villegas said.FULL STORY
[Updated 12:06 pm ET] With the shock and horror from Newtown giving way to anger and calls for action, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday his first concrete steps in addressing the raging debate about gun policy.
Obama said that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an interagency process to develop policy in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre.
Obama said he wants proposals on his desk quickly.FULL STORY
[Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET] The Coast Guard has suspended the search for two oil workers missing in the Gulf of Mexico, Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega told CNN.
[Posted 5:30 p.m.] One day after an explosion ripped through an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard scoured the region Saturday for any sign of two missing crew members.
The explosion triggered a fire and injured at least 11 people.
Democrats held onto the governorship in Washington on Friday, bringing an end to the only outstanding election from this week's governors' races.
Republican candidate Rob McKenna conceded to Democratic candidate Jay Inslee in a video statement. Inslee, a former U.S. representative, will succeed two-term Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.
"Despite the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers, donors, staff and everyone who's been part of Team McKenna, it appears we will fall short of victory when the last ballots are counted. After 17 months of hard work, that is a very disappointing result," said McKenna.
Eleven states held governors' races Tuesday. Democrats were defending eights seats, Republicans three.
By Wednesday afternoon, CNN had projected winners in all but one of the elections - Washington - where mail-in ballots made up about 40% of the votes.
With the race in Washington now decided, Democrats hold 19 governorships; Republicans 30. Rhode Island's governor is an independent.
Republicans flipped North Carolina this year, expanding their national lead over Democrats at the statehouse level. The state hadn't elected a GOP governor since the 1980s.
Editor's Note:Â Superstorm Sandy smashed ashore last night, triggering floods, fires and devastation. At least 33 people are known to have died in the United States and one in Canada, adding to the stormâ€™s earlier toll of 67. Millions are without power. Floods have hit homes and the New York subway system. Here is theÂ full story and below is the latest news as we learn it.
Are you there? Send your stories and photos to CNN iReport but stay safe.
[Update 11:02 p.m.]Â Superstorm Sandy continues to weaken over Pennsylvania. It is some 50 miles east-northeast of Pittsburgh, according to an 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to move northward into Canada on Wednesday.
Mount Rainier National Park reopened to the public Saturday for the first time since ranger Margaret Anderson was shot to death on New Year's Day.
All services at the park were available expect for "snowplay." Anderson was the direct supervisor of the rangers there, and many on that crew - and elsewhere in the park - needed more time before returning to work, said park spokesman Charles Beall.
"This tragedy has pretty much affected every employee at the park," he said.
Authorities believe Anderson, 34, was killed by Benjamin Colton Barnes, a former soldier whose body was found face down in a creek, not far from where he allegedly shot Anderson.FULL STORY