UNHCR calls for safety of civilians in the Central African Republic

Press Releases, 29 August 2013

The UN refugee agency is alarmed at new displacement in the Central African Republic capital Bangui amid recent fighting in at least two areas of the city. We are calling on the authorities to take immediate action to protect civilians from harm and allow people to return to their homes.

Over the past ten days arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, extortion, armed robberies, physical violence, restriction of movement, lootings and attacks on civilians have displaced thousands of people. Those affected are mainly from the Boy-Rabe and Boeing neighbourhoods and are currently seeking refuge in other parts of the capital.

So far, 10 people have reportedly been killed. The newly displaced are sheltered in hospitals and churches, or with relatives. Some 500 people have found shelter in the Hôpital d'Amitié, where overcrowding and deteriorating sanitary conditions are a major concern.

"UNHCR is deeply concerned for the safety of the civilian population, especially those who are forced to flee from their houses in search of safety. We urge the authorities to use all means to stop attacks against civilians, restore security and protect the population," said Liz Ahua, Deputy Director of UNHCR's Bureau for Africa

"Since last week, we are facing a confusing security situation. People are leaving their houses to escape violence and abuses," she added.

By Thursday morning, an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people, including many women and children fleeing insecurity and violence from Boeing district had taken refuge at Bangui International airport, blocking the runaway for air traffic and the rerouting of all flights to Douala, Cameroon.

There were already over 206,000 internally displaced people in the Central African Republic before the recent events.

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