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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid