Civilians must be protected against brutal attacks in CAR - NRC pleads

Bangui, CAR (PANA) - The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Marianne Irion has again urged the United Nations to strengthen UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) to protect civilians in the troubled country.

"Central African Republic is currently balancing on a knife’s edge. If we are to avoid the whole country from sliding back into civil war, there is an urgent need for better protection of the civilian population against attacks,” said the regional director for the Norwegian Refugee Council Marianne Irion.

On 15 November, the UN Security Council meets to discuss a renewal of the mandate for the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR. The UN Secretary-General has recommended a continuation of the mandate and an increase in the troop ceiling by an additional 900 military personnel.

“The UN peacekeeping mission should be strengthened to enable peacekeepers to better protect civilians against a surge in brutal attacks and abuse,” said Irion, according to a statement by the international humanitarian organisation.

“Political leaders, armed groups and the international community all have to do their share to end the negative cycle of violence that is currently crippling several parts of the country,” she added.

NRC said a surge in violence and brutal attacks on civilians in northern and eastern parts of the country during the last year had forced an increasing number of people to flee their homes. Currently, a record high 1.1 million people are displaced by the conflict.

So far this year, the capital Bangui has been little affected by the increased level of violence. But this weekend a concert was attacked with a grenade, killing at least four people and wounding about twenty other. Several people were killed in reprisal attacks that followed, NRC said.

“The attack in Bangui is another reminder of how fragile the situation in the country is at the moment, and how urgent it is to avoid the violence from spreading,” said Irion.

She also called for safe access for humanitarian organizations to provide support to people affected by the crisis. "

Irion said some of the newly displaced people are hiding in the bush, and insecurity has left many without any humanitarian support to cover their basic needs.

Zara Mamat, who fled Batangafo some months ago, after her husband was killed in the conflict, said: “Five of my children are still in Batangafo. I am afraid of what may have happened to them. Everyone is fleeing Batangafo now. All I want is peace and to know that my children are safe,” Mamat told the Norwegian Refugee Council.
-0- PANA MA 14Nov2017

14 november 2017 10:46:24




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