News / Africa

Thousands Block CAR Flights in Plea for Help

A Congolese policeman stands guard as more than 1,000 people living in a makeshift camp for the displaced at Mpoko Airport create a barrier across the runway, shouting for President Michel Djotodia to step down, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 31, 2013.
A Congolese policeman stands guard as more than 1,000 people living in a makeshift camp for the displaced at Mpoko Airport create a barrier across the runway, shouting for President Michel Djotodia to step down, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 31, 2013.
Reuters
Thousands of people caught up in fighting in Central African Republic blocked the runway of its international airport on Tuesday, demanding more aid and the resignation of the president.
 
Families and other refugees chanted anti-government slogans near a makeshift camp where they have taken shelter since clashes erupted between mostly Muslim Seleka fighters and Christian militias early in December.
 
Many had arrived in the morning, still loaded with luggage, fleeing a second night of heavy shelling in the capital Bangui.
 
“We are going to stop the takeoff and landing of planes to draw more attention from the international community,” said camp resident Rene Kaimba.
 
An Air France flight was canceled on Tuesday while aid and U.N. flights were also affected, said aid workers. French troops, sent in to try and control the violence in their former colony, surrounded the crowd.
 
Some called for the country's interim President Michel Djotodia to step down. He seized power in March alongside Seleka, a loose coalition of rebel forces.
 
Central African Republic remains one of Africa's poorest states for all its mineral resources. It has seen five coups and several rebellions since independence from France in 1960.
 
“The Central Africans have suffered too much and been here almost a month without a solution,” said M. Igor Kamdom, another displaced person at the camp. “That's why we invaded the runway, so that the President Djotodia resigns.”
 
Risks to Population
 
French and African troops have struggled to stop the violence that has killed more than 1,000 people this month after Christians, who have long complained of abuses by Seleka forces, launched reprisal attacks.
 
Humanitarian workers say that ongoing violence is making it difficult to protect the more than 800,000 that have fled their homes across the country.
 
Milan-based aid group Emergency said a children's clinic had run out of blood and appealed for donations.
 
“Doctors are struggling to treat people with serious wounds, or children with anemia - a consequence of malaria,” Ombretta Pasotti, Medical Coordinator at Emergency's Pediatric Center in Bangui, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
 
The U.N.'s World Food Program said it was scaling up deliveries to up to 1.25 million people.
 
International Rescue Committee country director Sarah Terlouw said water shortages and a lack of toilet facilities in camps had increased the risk of disease.
 
“At one camp we had just one water point for 12,000 people. The people are very vulnerable to outbreaks of cholera and typhoid,” she told Reuters on Tuesday.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid