News / Africa

Fragile Calm Returns to Bangui, CAR

Soldiers from the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard as the Central African Republic's new President Michel Djotodia (not pictured) attends Friday prayers at the central mosque in Bangui, Mar. 29, 2013.
Soldiers from the Seleka rebel alliance stand guard as the Central African Republic's new President Michel Djotodia (not pictured) attends Friday prayers at the central mosque in Bangui, Mar. 29, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
— The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports calm has been restored to Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).   But, the ICRC warns the risk of looting and renewed fighting remains high.  Last month rebels swept into Bangui and ousted President Francois Bozize.

The ICRC reports it is relatively calm in the capital city, but things are far from normal after rebels took control following heavy fighting last month. It says water and electricity are back on.  Shops, supermarkets and restaurants are open again.

But, it says the situation in Bangui is still very fragile and unstable and people live in the fear of renewed looting and clashes among armed men.

The ICRC spokeswoman for Central and Southern Africa, Marie-Servane Desjonqueres, tells VOA  that some 30 unidentified bodies, killed in the violence that broke out on March 23 and 24 in Bangui, have been buried by the Central African Red Cross.  She says the ICRC and local Red Cross workers have been providing emergency aid to wounded people since then.

"The figures that we have today regarding the numbers of wounded is around 240 wounded people," she said. "The volunteers of the local Red Cross managed to evacuate around 110 seriously wounded persons to the hospitals.  But, many more were helped during the violence.  Around 400 received first aid or received some help from the volunteers.  We do have access to those hospitals."

Desjonqueres says a surgeon and nurse have arrived in the CAR and currently are seeing how medical care can be improved and basic needs met for the population.

She says security is a big concern and the ICRC is negotiating with the authorities to guarantee the safety of aid workers so they can reach the people in need of help.  Although conditions in Bangui are far from ideal, she notes the situation in the rest of the country also is problematic.

"If you take for example, Kaga Bandoro and Ndele, which are two towns north of Bangui - there the situation is quite tense and the pressure on humanitarian organizations is quite high," she said. "We had several vehicles stolen and the proliferation of armed men in those regions make it very difficult for us to work and to move and therefore to do our work, which is to be close to and to help the population that needs our support."

Desjonqueres says the security situation in Ndele has deteriorated so much that ICRC staff no longer can venture out into certain streets.  Despite this, she says the ICRC has been able to put the city's broken water supply back into operation.

In addition, she says repair work on the city's 49-cubic-meter reservoir, which serves the city's 10,000 inhabitants, is almost completed and ICRC engineers are repairing leaking pipes and treating water to make it safe to drink.

She says the ICRC currently is assessing the medical situation in Bangui and general needs throughout the country.  She says water, food, and shelter are priorities.  She says the ICRC also is working to reunite unaccompanied children with their parents.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid