Violence hit Paoua region
2017 has seen villages torched, executions and looting in Central African Republic (CAR), a country yet again the scene of large-scale violence and exactions against civilians caught up in the fighting. MSF’s teams have been assisting casualties and responding to the needs resulting from increased generalized violence, particularly in the provinces in the southeast of the country.
More recently, violence hit Paoua region, in the north-west of the country and close to Chad border. MSF has been working in Paoua since 2006. Fighting broke out on 27 December 2017 between various armed groups, including MPC and Revolution Justice. Thousands of people are being displaced. They flee the fighting in the area to take refuge in the town of Paoua. They tell of torched villages and indiscriminate attacks on anyone found in the zone. The situation remains extremely tense.
MSF has been obliged to suspend its work in six health centres, and two of them are reportedly looted. The team at the hospital treated 13 wounded since Wednesday 27 December.
While the current hostilities are often 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. Over 630,000 people are displaced within the country, and about 545,000 others have sought refuge in neighbouring countries IDPs out of a population of approximately 4.5 million. According to UNHCR, these are the highest numbers seen since the height of civil war in December 2013.
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