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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid