UN: UN official condemns armed attack on CAR hospital

New York, US (PANA) - Denouncing forceful entry by armed individuals into a hospital in Central African Republic's restive PK5 neighbourhood with the intention to kill some of the patients, the Acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, Mr. Michel Yao, has said such incidents are in violation of the international humanitarian law.

"It is unacceptable that armed elements come to a hospital, with arms to kill patients," Mr. Yao, who is also the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in CAR said in a statement, obtained by PANA in New York on Thursday.

"Respect for health facilities and their civilian character must be ensured," he said, stressing that free and unhindered access to patients and medical staff must be safeguarded.

"International humanitarian law expressly forbids attacks on or targeting of medical facilities and personnel. I call on all parties including national authorities to enhance the protection of civilians and peaceful cohabitation of communities," he added.

According to the statement, at least 26 individuals both civilians and combatants were injured and at least three killed in the violence in Bangui's PK5 neighbourhood that has witnessed violent flare-ups in the past.

Several houses, a school and a church were also destroyed.

The attack was the second incident in the last five days at the health facility, situated in the capital, Bangui.

Protection of civilians continues to be a major concern in CAR where, according to estimates, 400,000 people remain displaced due to conflict and 2.2 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.

In January, the UN together with the government and relief organizations launched a $400 million appeal for humanitarian response until 2019. Funding, however, remains a major challenge.

-0-  PANA  AA/AR  9Feb2017

09 february 2017 18:09:10

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