New refugee outflows follow new violence in Central African Republic

Briefing Notes, 16 April 2013

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 16 April 2013, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Fighting this past weekend in the Central African Republic capital Bangui has seen further outflows of refugees into surrounding countries. In all, and from the recent instability in CAR, there are now well over 30,000 CAR refugees in Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as some 1024 new refugees in Cameroon, and 6728 in Chad.

New refugees in DRC have told us that Seleka forces opened fire on Bangui residents resisting or protesting against looting and abuses happening during the course of disarmament operations. Young males, who make up around 80 percent of the refugees who crossed this past weekend, have been particularly affected.

In DRC, 1,200 CAR refugees arrived between Saturday and Monday. And the influx continues. The new arrivals are mostly hosted by the local population but some have also found their way to Worobe camp, across the river from CAR and located 19 km to the east of Zongo. Those in Worobe crossed by boat to Zongo and walked to the camp which now hosts 3707 refugees, up from 2000 before the weekend. Others are in the villages or staying in public buildings. UNHCR provided all new arrivals with warm meals and is working to move all of them to the camp.

It is of urgent importance that the Seleka authorities put an end to violence against civilians and restore security in Bangui and the rest of the country. This is necessary both to stem the outflow, and to allow for resumption of critical humanitarian operations inside the country. Inside CAR, we estimate that there are 173,000 internally displaced people. In addition to this there are 17,000 mostly Congolese and Sudanese refugees in CAR, plus some 4,000 new Darfur refugees who crossed into northern CAR ten days ago following tribal clashes in the Um Dukhun area of Western Darfur.

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