UN: UN relief official urges calm in Central African Republic town

New York, US (PANA) - Following rising tensions in Central African Republic’s Ouaka prefecture and in and around its town of Bambari, the Acting Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, Michel Yao, has appealed for calm and refraining from any act that could further increase the fragility of an already vulnerable population.

"With a population of 42,000 and more than 26,000 displaced people, an open conflict in Bambari would be devastating to the civilian population," Mr. Yao said in a statement obtained by PANA in New York on Wednesday.

He called on all armed groups and non-State actors to realize the impact of a violent confrontation on the already sensitive situation of the local population.

"The likelihood of such a conflict suggests a dangerous increased in the fragility of the displaced population whose vulnerability remains a source of concern in several aspects," he said.

The official also urged armed and non-State groups not to jeopardize the achievements of the last two years in terms of reconciliation and social cohesion, as well as the improvement in the humanitarian situation.

Mr. Yao said the UN mission in the country, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, the international community and national authorities have been encouraging the people to avoid clashes that could threaten the protection of the civilians.

He noted that people in and around Bambari, located some 385 km (about 240 miles) northeast of the nation’s capital, Bangui, have already suffered the consequences of several waves of violence by armed groups.

"Additionally, since the start of conflict in Bria – the capital of the neighbouring Haute-Kotto prefecture – last September, more than 18,000 newly displaced persons have arrived in the Ouaka prefecture, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"In Bambari town, there are more than 300 newly displaced persons from the Bambari-Ippy-Bria axis, all in dire need of relief.

"I call on all parties to the conflict to ensure the unimpeded humanitarian access to the vulnerable groups of people by the humanitarians and vice versa," he stated.

Clashes between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, who are mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013.

According to the UN, more more than half the population is in dire need of assistance. Despite significant progress and successful elections, CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest.

In December 2016, MINUSCA supported a new dialogue between 11 of the 14 armed groups, as part of an ongoing effort to disarm the factions.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  25Jan2017

25 january 2017 19:02:16

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