Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Central African Republic violence 'highly worrying,' UN says

Central African Republic violence 'highly worrying,' UN says

"The armed elements continue to systematically and deliberately attack the MINUSCA base with heavy weaponry to impede the peacekeepers from doing their extremely vital task of protecting the civilian population and to divert them from their primary vocation of saving lives", the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, said in a statement.

"The hard-earned relative calm in Bangui and some of the bigger towns in auto risks being eclipsed by the descent of some rural areas into increasing sectarian violence, with defenceless civilians - as usual - paying the highest price", he added.

Militia fighters from the Central African Republic's (CAR) Christian minority attacked a United Nations base for the second consecutive night, a United Nations official said on Sunday, after a week of violence that has killed six peacekeepers at the southeastern border.

It was the first death toll given since the attack apart from the confirmation of the peacekeepers' deaths.

More than 3,000 people had fled within hours of violence erupting late Friday when members of the mainly-Christian anti-Balaka militia attacked civilians and a United Nations field office.

Then, two weeks ago, as we were on our weekly visit to the health centre of Yongofongo, some 25 kilometres from Bangassou, Central African Republic, we came across people fleeing the village.

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According to preliminary information, displaced civilians have fled to the mosque, the catholic church and a hospital.

More than 400 000 people in the former French colony are displaced internally and 2.2 million, or almost half the population, are reliant on aid.

Fighting has mounted, however, and last month Doctors Without Borders warned of "levels of violence that have not been seen since the peak of the conflict in 2014".

"These attacks resulted in one Moroccan peacekeeper killed and one Moroccan peacekeeper injured, as well as civilian casualties and significant population displacement", the statement said.

On May 12 and 13, anti-Balaka militiamen attacked and killed dozens of civilians in Bangassou, southeastern vehicle. Prime Minister Simplice Mathieu Sarandji assured those protesting that the government would punish those responsible.

One thousand people are confined in a mosque compound, and around 1500 have sought refuge in a cathedral.

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