UN: Clashes in Central African Republic take heavy toll on civilians

New York, US (PANA) - UN humanitarian staff working in crisis-torn Central African Republic (CAR) says that despite peace talks, civilians continue to be caught in crossfire in ongoing fighting.

According to a statement issued in New York on Friday, 26 civilians were killed earlier this week when clashes between armed groups resulted in an attack on the village of Batangafo in Ouham Prefecture.

UN humanitarian officials said that despite recent peace talks in Brazzaville, clashes between armed groups had continued, exacting a heavy toll on civilians.

The statement said even more alarming was that the continued insecurity was having a direct impact on aid efforts and sixteen aid workers had been killed in the CAR since fighting reached its peak in December.

An estimated 527,000 people were still internally displaced, including 102,000 internally displaced persons in Bangui, while over half the population (2.5 million people), needed humanitarian assistance, it said.

The statement added that in addition to the perilous security situation, the efforts of aid groups were also being hindered by a lack of funding, with less than 40 per cent of the US$565 million needed for 2014 being received so far.

Last week the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said lack of funds was badly hampering efforts to provide even the most basic survival assistance for refugees.

The UNHCR also noted that assistance gaps remained in shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene, posing particular concern now that the rainy season had begun.

The CAR has been embroiled in fighting currently fuelled by inter-communal retaliatory attacks between anti-balaka and Seleka rebels, after the latter were ousted from power in January 2014.
-0- PANA AA/MA 2Aug2014

02 august 2014 07:46:13

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