CAR, violence against humanitarian organisations is on the rise

The flag of the International Red Cross The flag of the International Red Cross

28 December 2020

Due to increasing tensions within the country, humanitarian organisations and their staff have become the target of several attacks

On the night of 27 December, a group of armed men broke into the premises of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Bouar, in the western prefecture of Nana-Mambéré, Central African Republic (C.A.R.). The group looted the building, injuring four agents. In response to the attack, the head of the ICRC delegation condemned the act and announced that most activities in the region would be temporarily suspended until the situation was safe again. The episode is not an isolated one and is indeed a symptom of the growing tensions between local militias and government forces due to the impending presidential elections and the accusations made against the president of an attempted coup. In mid-December, peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in the country had already militarily intervened against rebels who had seized control of Bambari, the country's fourth-largest city.

In the past weeks, armed men attacked an ICRC-supported hospital in the north-central prefecture of Kaga-Bandoro, threatening and robbing the staff. The Committee was also forced to evacuate 15 injured people from the local hospital in Bambari following the clashes, and a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical staff member was killed in a shooting attack against a public transport vehicle near the town.

The recent events make it difficult for actors such as the ICRC and MSF to be safe and operate, emphasising that their indiscriminate support is aimed at helping the most vulnerable, regardless of their affiliation.  The organisations, therefore, call on all parties to work together to cease hostilities and allow assistance for those most in need.


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Author: Matteo Consiglio; Editor: Margherita Curti

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