News / Africa

Thousands Flee Lawless Central African Republic

Armed fighters from the Seleka rebel alliance patrol the streets in pickup trucks to stop looting in Bangui, March 2013.
Armed fighters from the Seleka rebel alliance patrol the streets in pickup trucks to stop looting in Bangui, March 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates 206,000 people now are displaced inside the Central African Republic (CAR), while another 63,000 CAR nationals are refugees in four neighboring countries. This includes more than 4,000 refugees who have fled to southern Chad since mid-July. 
 
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said his agency is very concerned about the insecurity in the CAR.
 
"We have reports on a routine basis of human rights violations of a very serious nature. Reports of rapes, of shootings and other incidents," he said. "The nighttime situation in Bangui itself is one in which people in some cases are telling us they simply are not sleeping at night. They prefer to keep vigilance and on watch and trying to cope by sleeping during the day. So it remains an extremely worrisome situation and CAR retains its reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous countries."
 
According to UNHCR, two local U.N. staff were attacked and seriously wounded in the capital, Bangui, in the past few days, and the husband of one aid worker was killed.
 
In rural areas, agency officials said civilians are reportedly organizing vigilante groups to protect themselves from violence by Seleka rebels.
 
The rebels seized Bangui in March, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee the country. The transitional government has so far been unable to restore law and order, and the situation throughout the country remains largely chaotic and violent.
 
The UNHCR said humanitarian workers are having difficulty accessing many parts of the country, though it reports that its aid workers have improved access to three refugee camps in central and southern CAR, where more than 11,000 mainly Congolese and Sudanese refugees are living.
 
Although many areas remain too dangerous to enter, the U.N. Children’s Fund reports emergency teams have been working for the past few weeks to restart health services in two districts hard hit by the ongoing crisis.
 
UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said this is the first time since fighting between the government and rebels erupted in December that U.N. aid workers have been present for an extended period in the conflict-ravaged interior of the country.
 
"Through emergency mobile teams, and elsewhere across the country, UNICEF is working with national authorities and partners to restart or rehabilitate basic services wherever security permits," she said. "Late last month we brought in over 50 metric tons of humanitarian supplies. A vaccination campaign that is being rolled out as access opens up has reached almost 200,000 children since May with measles and polio immunization, as well as Vitamin A and de-worming medication."
 
UNICEF research indicates that CAR has been one of the toughest places for a child to survive, even before the military takeover. UNICEF said conditions for children, if anything, are now worse.
 
The United Nations is appealing to international donors to support what it calls a forgotten crisis. It says the response to its appeal for $495 million to carry out humanitarian operations this year has been "terrible."
 
It says only 32 percent of the requested amount, or $62 million, has been received.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid