The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad has warned armed groups that it is “unacceptable” to attack refugees.
Victor Angelo said attacking unarmed civilians and refugees is a grave violation of human rights laws which he said would not be tolerated by the international community.
“There is a very serious tension between these fighters and the refugees. The fighters are accusing the refugees of ambushing them and killing two of them, which in my opinion is not correct. There was a serious threat from the combatants to go into the camp and start shooting and torch the camp which of course is unacceptable,” he said.
Angelo travelled to the town of Sam Ouandja Tuesday after tensions escalated there following the killing of three Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (UFDR) rebels in an apparent ambush.
While assessing the security situation there, Angelo said he reminded the people about the humanitarian protection mandate for north-eastern CAR which the Security Council had given the UN mission also known as MINURCAT.
Angelo cautioned the rebels not to escalate the already tensed security situation.
“I have reminded the rebels that please restrain yourselves. Make sure that you will remain within the law and no violation of humanitarian law. So, this is basically what we are telling them, but the situation remains very difficult, very complex and in an area that is very far from every place,” Angelo said.
He also urged the rebels to be patient ahead of the upcoming Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion (DDR) program instituted by the Central African government with support from the international community.
After announcing a troop surge, Angelo also called on the Central African Republic government to help resolve the tension.
“I have deployed a number of soldiers there (and) these are elite troops from Togo within MINURCAT. But the problem is I don’t have enough soldiers in that part of the area of my operations. The number of soldiers that have been authorized by the Security Council for the Central African Republic is very small…(but) their presence builds confidence on one side and keeps us liaising with every actor, including the fighters,” Angelo said.