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Spike in Violence in CAR Causing Thousands to Flee

  • Lisa Schlein

FILE - A child walks through a refugee camp in Kaga-Bandoro, Central African Republic, Feb. 16, 2016.

United Nations agencies report that an upsurge in violence and an alarming escalation of human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR) are causing tens of thousands of people to flee across borders and thousands of others to become displaced within the country.

The U.N. says the violence taking place in the CAR is on a scale that has not been seen since 2014. This is affirmed by agencies such as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which notes more than 100,000 refugees from the CAR were registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of June.

Additionally, the UNHCR reports that DRC authorities have registered more than 60,000 new arrivals in North Ubangui and Bas-Uele since May. UNHCR spokesman William Spindler says people have been fleeing into remote areas of the northern DRC, putting immense pressure on difficult-to-reach local communities that are close to the border.

Spindler says one of these areas is Ndu. While barely a village, he says Ndu now is hosting some 37,000 new arrivals from the CAR.

“Our colleagues, who were in Ndu a few days ago, say the situation there is chaotic and its proximity to the border makes it dangerous, with armed bandits feared to be nearby. Refugees are staying everywhere they can — in churches, buildings used as schools, in the only health center, or sleeping in the open. People desperately need more health care, food and shelter, Spindler said.

In the meantime, the U.N. Children’s Fund reports that children increasingly are being targeted by armed groups in the CAR during attacks on villages or towns. It says atrocities committed against children as young as two include murders, abductions, rape, and recruitment as child soldiers.

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