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November 27, 2013

MSF Calls for More Aid for CAR

by Joe DeCapua

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders is calling on the international community to immediately increase humanitarian aid to Central African Republic. The group says one in ten people have been driven from their homes by violence that has gripped the country since a coup last March.


Doctors Without Borders – also known by its French acronym MSF –says a lot needs to be done in CAR and it needs to be done now.

Albert Camares, an MSF humanitarian officer based in Bangui, said, “Médecins Sans Frontières teams mainly in northern regions of the country have been witnessing some [extrajudicial] executions as well as some civilian disappearances in the last weeks, months, let’s say, in [a] quite unstable and volatile security situation due to some clashes between ex-Seleka forces and self-defense groups – so-called anti-Balaka.”

Camares said, as is often the case in conflict, civilians are the hardest hit.

“The civilians who are the principal victims of that situation are suffering a massive displacement. In the country, it’s estimated that around 400,000 Central Africans have been internally displaced in quite precarious situations where they are living hidden in the bush – out [from] the main roads of humanitarian assistance – with no shelter, no food and a weak access to health systems and being quite unprotected [from] the violent situation.”

The MSF humanitarian officer said recent clashes around two villages in northeastern CAR have made matters worse.

“It’s mainly in the Ouham region on the border with Chad. And it’s been quite characterized in the villages of Bossangoa and Bouca,” he said.

Doctors Without Borders said it has been forced at times to relocate its teams to safer areas. However, it has not stopped providing medical services. The group has seven ongoing projects in CAR, but since the coup, emergency operations have been set-up in Bossangoa, Bouca and Bria.

The March coup led by a group of militias under the Seleka banner ousted President Francois Bozize. Their commander, Michel Djotodia, is the country’s new president. While he has disbanded the rebels and integrated some into the national army, many are still attacking villages.