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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid