Violent clashes in CAR displace thousands of people - MSF

Bangui, Central African Republic (PANA) - About 30,000 people have fled violent clashes between two groups in the the Paoua region of Central African Republic (CAR), a medical charity said on Tuesday.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said in a statement that those fleeing the clashes had taken refuge in the town of Paoua, adding that the situation remained extremely tense.

It said members of Revolution and Justice (RJ) and fighters belonging to the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African Republic People (MNLC) have been involved in the the violent clashes in Paoua region, close to the border with Chad, since 27 December 2017.

"All the peripheral health centres are closed and very few wounded casualties have reached the hospital in Paoua," MSF said, adding that its team at the hospital had treated 13 victims of the fighting and attacks.

“This is very little, taking into account the number of displaced people who reached Paoua and the extreme violence they report to our teams,” said Gwenola François, MSF head of mission.

“Many tell of men on horseback shooting at anything that moves, of dead and wounded people left behind in the bush. We are very concerned by the situation there.”

MSF said Léonard Gangbe, a 33-year-old farmer, was one of the wounded who made it to the hospital in Paoua. When the fighting broke out, he and several neighbours fled their village to a house in the forest. He was shot in the left cheek as he tried to stop armed men stealing the cattle he had taken with him. The bullet tore through his nose and top lip.

The medical charity said because of the fighting, its teams had had to suspend their work in  the seven health centres in outlying districts of Paoua where they provided assistance. Three of these centres have reportedly been looted.

The region of Paoua was relatively spared from the fighting and escalation of violence throughout the past year. Yet even in relatively safe parts of the country, people are subjected to pervasive and sustained violence.

The statement said violence was not only characterised by fighting between armed groups, targeted attacks against the population and the numbers of people left dead or wounded; it was fostered by the incapacity of state authority to provide security in much of the country and the proliferation of armed men who lived off people’s backs.

"These men use any excuse to impose a tax – happening to be on a particular road, owning cattle, or even living in one’s own home."
-0- PANA MA/AR 9Jan2018

09 january 2018 16:25:10




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