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UN Staff Attacked, Robbed in Central African Republic

  • Lisa Schlein

The U.N. refugee agency has temporarily relocated its staff after armed men in the Central African Republic attacked and robbed the UNHCR’s premises in the northern town of Kaga-Bandoro.

The U.N. refugee agency condemns the attack against its staff, which occurred late Saturday afternoon. It reports armed men looted all the goods and money on site, including personal items and passports.

The UNHCR says the six U.N. workers were threatened at gunpoint, but fortunately, none were hurt. The agency says they have been temporarily located to the UN Mission base in Kaga- Bandoro for their safety. It says some will be moved to the capital Bangui.

UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, tells VOA the agency has no information regarding the identity of the perpetrators.

“This is obviously something that would need investigating. But, clearly in the context of the CAR, that might be a tall order given the situation inside the country," he said. "Our staff faces constant insecurity and threats… Our staff there works in precarious conditions.”

FILE - People displaced by the recent unrest, collect food distributed by aid agencies at an IDP camp at the Mpoko international airport of Bangui, Feb. 12, 2014.
FILE - People displaced by the recent unrest, collect food distributed by aid agencies at an IDP camp at the Mpoko international airport of Bangui, Feb. 12, 2014.

The UNHCR provides protection and assistance to more than 8,600 refugees and more than one-half million internally displaced people. Mahecic says the UNHCR will do what it can to help these people during this uncertain time.

“We will obviously consider the return of the staff at the time when it is considered for them to be safe. And, obviously, the aid that has been on the ground has been delivered, but also we would be making contingency plans in such situations for assistance to the displaced,” he said.

Last week, the UNHCR warned renewed violence in CAR was threatening thousands of civilian lives and forcing many to flee. The agency reports more than five years of civil war has caused nearly 1 million people to become internally displaced or refugees.

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