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THE FOCUS

11.04.2018

Influx of wounded patients in Sica hospital in Bangui


Central African Republic (CAR) is the scene of large-scale violence against a people still suffering the trauma of the 2013 civil war. In 2013, the Seleka, a coalition of mainly Muslim combatants from the northeast of the country, toppled President François Bozizé’s regime. The anti-balaka, so-called Christian self-defence militia, retaliated with equal ferocity to atrocities committed by the Seleka. Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced, either within CAR itself or to neighbouring countries. The dissolution of the Seleka and the deployment of international forces were followed by an agreement that officially put an end to the hostilities in July 2014. However, three years later, despite the announced disarmament of armed groups, deployment of 12,000 peacekeepers, adoption of a new constitution and election of a new President, the situation began deteriorating. Since last year, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have been witnesses to this escalation in violence, in the provinces in the northwest, center and southeast of the country, which have seen villages torched, executions and looting. Violence against civilians caught up in the fighting—to which nobody is immune—has escalated to levels of an exceptional brutality. While the current hostilities play along ethnic and religious lines, they cannot be reduced to a conflict opposing Christians and Muslims. Muddying the waters are substantial economic interests, a struggle for control of resources and various political agendas extending well beyond issues of identity alone. Sporadic flare-ups have sparked violence throughout the country and only capital city Bangui was so far unscathed by this latest generalized outbreak of violence. On Sunday 8 April 2am, MINUSCA and Central African security launched a joint operation in PK5 neighborhood in Bangui. The operation involved heavy fighting, resulting in dozens of injured. In total 40 wounded patients were treated by MSF teams on Sunday, among them 24 admitted in MSF SICA Hospital which provides emergency and surgical care. On Tuesday 10 April afternoon, heavy fighting resumed in PK5. On Tuesday night, when the Red Cross ambulances could finally move and evacuate medical cases from PK5, we received a new influx of 40 wounded at MSF SICA Hospital. The vast majority of patients had gunshot wounds, with few suffering from shrapnel or stab wounds.

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