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Norway gives NOK 20 million to UNICEF’s work in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 14, 2013


Norway gives NOK 20 million to UNICEF’s work in the Central African Republic

 

OSLO, Norway, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/  “The situation in the Central African Republic is now so serious that the UN humanitarian system has decided to operate collectively at the highest level to mobilise staff, equipment and other resources. Norway is therefore allocating NOK 20 million in funding to UNICEF for its efforts to protect children in the country. In wars and conflicts, children are the most vulnerable group of all,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

 

The UN and aid organisations are reporting a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, as a result of the escalating armed conflict in the country. Violence against civilians is on the rise, including in the capital Bangui, and a growing number of people are being driven from their homes.

 

“Some of UNICEF’s most important work is protecting children from abuses and suffering caused by conflict. UNICEF ensures that families with children have access to water, shelter and food, and it establishes safe, child-friendly spaces where children can take part in activities and receive help to overcome traumatic experiences. Norway is now making a major contribution to this important work,” said Mr Brende.

 

Norway is providing humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic through the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. Following this latest allocation, Norway’s humanitarian contribution will total NOK 52 million. This sum comes in addition to Norway’s contributions to UN funds and programmes in the country.

 

SOURCE

Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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CNN team escape fierce fighting

Posted by African Press International on December 12, 2013

December 6, 2013: CNN’s Nima Elbagir and team escape a U.N. compound in Bossangoa following fierce fighting and RPG attacks. READ more—

 

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Supporting international response in Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 9, 2013

LONDON, United-Kingdom, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Foreign Secretary announces UK air transport assistance to France for Central African Republic.

On 5th December, with strong UK support, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2127 authorising the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA), and the deployment of French forces to give assistance. The Mission will contribute to the protection of civilians, the restoration of public order, and the stabilisation of CAR at a critical moment.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“The UN Security Council made an important decision yesterday to authorise African Union and French troops to respond to the security and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.

“We are determined to play our part in helping to address the violence. We have therefore agreed with the Government of France that we will help move French equipment to CAR by means of a UK C17 transport aircraft. Three separate flights will take place this month, with the first one due to land in CAR shortly.

“This comes on top of £10 million in UK aid announced on 30 November. Having already contributed £5 million in July, the United Kingdom is now one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the people of CAR. We will continue to work alongside the International Red Cross and UN agencies to help thousands of people gain access to food, water, shelter, sanitation and healthcare to alleviate the desperate humanitarian suffering.”

 

SOURCE

United Kingdom – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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The imperative of the restoration of public order and the protection of the civilian populations in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, continues to closely monitor, with utmost concern, the evolution of the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR). She reiterates the strong condemnation by the AU of the abuses and other massive violations of human rights that continue to be committed against the civilian populations. She stresses the urgent need to do everything necessary to bring this unacceptable situation to an end.

The Chairperson of the Commission encourages the Peace Consolidation Mission of the Economic Community of Central African States in the CAR (MICOPAX), which will transition into the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR (MISCA), on 19 December 2013, to intensify its efforts, in order to contribute to the speedy restoration of public order and the effective protection of the civilian populations, and to take all necessary steps to this end.

She welcomes the initiatives taken by her Special Representative in the CAR, Hawa Ahmed Youssouf, including the sustained and continued consultations with the transitional authorities, the military command of MICOPAX, the religious leaders and key representatives of the international community in Bangui, in order to address the prevailing situation on the ground. She appeals to the French forces deployed in the CAR to extend all the necessary support to MICOPAX.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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ACTION NEEDED TO PULL CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC OUT OF CRISIS

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

NEW YORK, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the meeting of the International Contact Group on the Central African Republic, as prepared for delivery by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in Bangui on 8 November:

I thank the African Union and the Mediator of the Economic Community of Central African States for the Central African Republic crisis, His Excellency President Sassou Nguesso, for inviting the United Nations to participate in the third meeting of this International Contact Group. I thank the Government of the Central African Republic for hosting this first meeting of the Group in Bangui.

We meet at a moment of real urgency for the people of the Central African Republic. They are suffering. They are vulnerable. Their security, dignity and future must be foremost in the discussions today and in the actions that must be taken as soon as possible to pull the country out of this dire crisis.

All too often in the past, the Central African Republic has been described as a forgotten crisis. But, today more is being done to sound the alarm and mobilize a response. Since the last meeting of the International Contact Group in July, there has been increased awareness about the situation and the plight of its people.

The African Union and Economic Community of Central African States for the Central African Republic have strengthened their efforts to support the transitional authorities and agreed to deploy the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic. A high-level meeting on the Central African Republic was organized by the European Union, France and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. And, the Security Council adopted its resolution 2121 on 10 October 2013.

The international community is speaking with one voice. We must now translate awareness and concern into effective action to ensure that the crisis is addressed in all its dimensions — security, political, human rights and humanitarian. We must help stop the suffering and act now, without delay.

There has been some movement on the political track. Most of the transitional institutions and implementation mechanisms are now established. The Government has developed a draft road map for operationalizing the transitional commitments. A key milestone on the horizon will be the holding of free and fair elections within 18 months of the inauguration of the Head of State of the Transition. I encourage the National Transitional Council to adopt the draft road map and promulgate the electoral code as soon as possible. I also encourage the authorities to establish the National Authority for the Elections. The United Nations stands ready, once the National Authority for the Elections is in place, to provide assistance in identifying the technical requirements for the successful organization of elections, defining a more specific calendar and mobilizing resources.

Security remains the most immediate priority and pressing concern. I am profoundly concerned about the rapid deterioration of security and the rule of law in the Central African Republic, particularly in the countryside, and the corresponding deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

Elements of the ex-Séléka coalition have continued to terrorize the population, with rampant looting and grave human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual violence against women and children, torture, targeted killings and the recruitment of child soldiers. We have also seen the emergence of local self-defence groups and a cycle of targeted attacks and reprisals with religious underpinnings. This is planting the seeds for a long-lasting conflict between communities that have always co-habited peacefully. We must do everything in our power to de-escalate the religious tensions between Muslim and Christian communities.

I remind the national authorities of their responsibility to ensure respect for human rights, to bring perpetrators to justice and protect all Central Africans from abuse. I call on them to take all necessary measures to restore security and the rule of law and to facilitate humanitarian access. The regroupment and cantonment of former Séléka fighters should take place as soon as possible, in compliance with international standards.

I encourage ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) to help the authorities organize a national conference as soon as possible, as decided by ECCAS leaders at their last Summit. I urge the international community to provide support to MISCA. A Technical Assessment Mission led by my Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations ended its visit yesterday, and I will report to the Security Council shortly.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has earmarked $2.5 million through the Peacebuilding Fund to support the refurbishment of police and gendarmerie stations in Bangui and the interior. Additional support has also been approved in principle by the Peacebuilding Fund to support the regroupment of former Séléka elements.

Finally, let us all recognize that the Central African Republic faces a financial crisis that limits its ability to address the current crisis. While I encourage the international community to help, the level of assistance will depend on the Central African Republic authorities themselves. You must help us to help you. I therefore encourage the Government to make every effort to improve the transparency in the management of the available financial resources.

Excellencies, let me return once again to the urgency of the situation, and the need to act while there is time to prevent any further deterioration. Sparing the people of the Central African Republic more suffering and insecurity must be our collective goal. There is a chance to work together to reverse the downward spiral in the Central African Republic and to set the country on a path toward peace and stability. Time is of the essence. We cannot let the people of the Central African Republic down at this moment of pressing need. Thank you for your attention.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

 

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Is there a sectarian dimension? Terror grips Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on October 20, 2013

NAIROBI,  – The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is deepening more than six months after a coup by the Séléka rebel coalition. 

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in violence since the March coup, thousands have fled their homes, basic services have been adversely affected and senior humanitarian figures have warned of a possible spillover of violence into neighbouring countries.

Séléka, which propelled the current CAR interim President Michel Djotodia into power, “has since become the main perpetrator of violence against civilians”, says Oxford Analytica in a recent CAR brief.

What kind of rights violations are taking place?

The Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I’Homme (FIDH), has described human rights violations by Séléka as “international crimes”.

“In the absence of the army, the police and [a] justice [system], these youths who include children, terrorize an unprotected population. Heavily armed, with their pick-up [trucks] and motor bikes, they kill, kidnap, [and] torture for money or to stifle all protest. They burn entire villages and rape the women. These human rights violations qualify as international crimes,” it stated in a report.

The FIDH report highlights human rights abuses by Séléka including: a massacre in the area of Gobongo, in Bangui in June, where rebels shot at a protesting crowd leaving several dead; an upsurge in rape cases since the rebel takeover of Bangui; and the looting and burning down of houses in the provinces.

FIDH calls on the international community to place sanctions on Séléka leaders and warlords, including the freezing of their financial assets and urges International Criminal Court action to address impunity.

In a September report Human Rights Watch (HRW) also highlighted serious human rights abuses by Séléka, including murder and rape. According to HRW, President Djotodia denied that Séléka fighters had committed abuses, and continued to shift blame for the violence onto loyalists of deposed President François Bozizé, “false Séléka,” and bandits – even though at least one Séléka official in the field admitted to HRW responsibility for some attacks.

On 13 September, President Djotodia announced the dissolution of Séléka and allied groups, but some senior Séléka figures are pursuing vendettas against perceived Bozizé supporters, according to Oxford Analytica. “In rural areas, fighters lived off their respective areas of control through looting and violence against local residents…

“With bands of rebel fighters ultimately loyal to their individual commanders, the president’s official dissolution of Séléka provides little incentives for compliance; there is almost no prospect of purely local action controlling armed groups.”

Where is the violence concentrated?

Ouham Province in the northwest is among those worst affected by violence.

“In the last month, we have treated more than 60 people in Bossangoa [Ouham’s capital] for injuries that are the result of violence, largely gunshot and machete wounds, including women and children,” said Erna Rijinierse, a surgeon with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). “More than 80 percent of surgeries have been for wounds that are conflict-related. MSF is horrified by what we are seeing, including burnt villages and appalling scenes of murder.”

“When such aggressions occur, the population traditionally flee to their fields located anywhere from one to 30km in the bush surrounding their village or city. There, they spend days, weeks and even months without proper shelter, no safe drinking water, limited food supply and no access to the most basic of healthcare.”

Her remarks were carried in an MSF statement on 16 October calling for urgent humanitarian assistance amid “unprecedented levels of violence”. MSF said it had directly witnessed the execution of one healthcare worker, as well as multiple violent attacks on humanitarian staff.

What are the main humanitarian issues?

The violence in Ouham has pushed at least 170,000 people into the forest or into Bossangoa. In Bossangoa, about 36,000 people are seeking refuge at a church, a provincial administration office, and at a local school, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). They are living in precarious conditions with limited or no access to shelter, clean water, food and sanitation, according to MSF.

Health care has been adversely affected. “Health structures have been looted, the few qualified personnel have fled, drug supply and logistic means are non-existent or paralysed and even worse is the population which flees violence by seeking refuge in the bush [and] does not have any access to the most basic of health care,” Albert Caramés, an MSF humanitarian affairs officer in Bangui, told IRIN.

Some schools which had reopened have been closed, especially in the provinces of Ouham, Ouham-Pendé and Ouaka due to the insecurity, according to OCHA.

The International Medical Corps (IMC), in a 15 October statement, said the conflict was disrupting agricultural livelihoods in CAR. The looting of cattle, seeds, tools and already-meagre food reserves has compounded the situation.

IMC has recorded global acute malnutrition rates of 15.8 percent (above the UN World Health Organization emergency threshold of 15 percent) in parts of Haute-Kotto District in eastern CAR. Treatment services for malnourished children have been adversely affected with insecurity hindering humanitarian access and the transportation of vital food supplies, added IMC.

“More than 390,000 people in CAR are currently internally displaced; almost twice the numbers reported during the height of previous CAR instability between 2006-2008,” notes Melanie Wissing, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) assistant country analyst for CAR. “Today, estimates suggest that a staggering 10 percent of the population of CAR has been forced to flee since the Séléka movement overthrew the former President Bozizé and his regime in March.”

Is there a risk of regional spillover?

In mid-August, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, in a briefing to the UN Security Council (UNSC) following a CAR visit, noted that the government is fragile and fraught with challenges “including divisions within Séléka, the proliferation of weapons in Bangui and beyond, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts and the absence of state administration outside of Bangui.”

Vulnerable (file photo)

Amos further warned that the CAR crisis, which has affected the entire population of 4.6 million, threatened to spill across the border.

In her blog, Wissing amplifies Amos’s concern, noting that there has been increasing cross-border criminal activity and the presence of fighters from neighbouring countries in CAR.

“Recent reports that both Chadian and Sudanese nationals are found fighting in CAR, along with current reports of refugees arriving in CAR from the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, suggest there is a risk that armed groups on either side of the border might take advantage of the current situation to further fuel conflict,” she stated.

“With bands of rebel fighters ultimately loyal to their individual commanders, the president’s official dissolution of Séléka provides little incentives for compliance; there is almost no prospect of purely local action controlling armed groups.”

The northeastern CAR region is characterized by lawlessness and banditry. It is also a livestock migratory route for pastoralists from and to Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan. Inter-communal tension is common there too.

“Recent reports claim that such pastoralist groups have sided with Séléka and attacked civilians. This raises concerns that armed groups could exploit these inter-communal tensions to further fuel instability for their own benefit, in a way that would mirror conflict and displacement dynamics in Darfur,” warned Wissing.

However, “a truly ‘regional crisis’ appears unlikely, according to Oxford Analytica. “The norm will more likely prevail: that is, state collapse in mineral-rich peripheries, providing havens for various armed groups.”

Is there a sectarian dimension?

There have also been rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in CAR.

Explaining the emergence of religious identity as a driver or perceived driver of tension, Oxford Analytica noted that Séléka originated and recruited in the far north which is predominantly Muslim; Djotodia is CAR’s first Muslim head of state; opportunities for looting and theft in rural areas of CAR have also attracted many foreign fighters, often from countries with larger Muslim communities, particularly Chad; and in reprisal for Séléka activity, Muslims around Bossangoa (in Ouham) have been attacked and killed, with subsequent revenge attacks against non-Muslims.

“Sectarian factors were also at play in August, when elements of Séléka cracked down on supposed Bozizé sympathizers in the Boy Rabe District of Bangui,” it adds. 

Since early September, the nature of the CAR conflict has changed with the proliferation of local self-defence groups in various parts of the country, MSF’s Caramés told IRIN.

“As they [the self-defence groups] target government forces and Muslim populations, whom they accuse of collusion with the ex-Séléka, this drives these new government forces to reply aggressively against the self-defence groups and civilian population who are overwhelmingly Christian,” he said.

“This circle of violence is fuelling this latest conflict… When such aggressions occur, the population traditionally flee to their fields located anywhere from one to 30km in the bush surrounding their village or city. There, they spend days, weeks and even months without proper shelter, no safe drinking water, limited food supply and no access to the most basic of healthcare.”

With the present violence in CAR concentrated in the northwest, as it was during the 2006-2008 instability, IDMC’s Wissing added that: “If history were to repeat itself, criminal gangs coming from as far as Niger and Nigeria would take advantage of both the instability and the porous borders to target civilians in CAR, potentially causing massive displacement.”

What is the UN doing?

On 10 October, the UN Security Council (UNSC)  unanimously adopted a resolution seeking to update the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA). This will enable BINUCA to support the implementation of CAR’s transition process over the next 18 months – after which presidential and legislative elections are expected.

UNSC also demanded that Séléka and other armed groups participate in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes and called on African countries to speed up the transition of the Mission of the Economic Community of Central African States for the Consolidation of Peace in CAR into the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR.

UNSC has also noted the UN Secretary-General’s recommendation that BINUCA strengthen its field presence by establishing a guard unit to protect UN personnel and installations in CAR.

aw/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Bearing brunt of CAR crisis

Posted by African Press International on April 26, 2013

BANGUI,  – Sporadic armed clashes, looting of orphanages, recruitment into armed groups, and widespread school closures have made life perilous for children in the Central Afric an Republic (CAR) in the wake of a 24 March rebel coup by the Séléka alliance.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 2.3 million children are directly affected by the breakdown of law and order and the interruption of basic services.

On 12 April, 14 children were wounded in the capital, Bangui, when a rocket-propelled grenade fell on a playing field. Two days later, a rocket landed on a church, killing seven people, including three infants, and wounding 11 children – three of whom had to have their legs amputated.

“It’s scandalous that children are being caught in crossfire as they go about their daily lives, playing football or going to church,” said Souleymane Diabaté, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in CAR.

“Children who fall sick with basic diseases” such as malaria are also in need of medical attention, said Ellen Van Der Velden, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission in CAR.

Yet healthcare provision outside of main hospitals has been unpredictable. “In some areas [of Bangui] the health centres are functional, in others they are closed, again in others minimal services are being delivered. The situation may change quite quickly. One day a [health] centre could be operational, the next it can be closed,” said Van Der Velden.

Children’s homes targeted

A Bangui centre for street children, run by the Voix du Coeur (Voice of the Heart) Foundation, “suffered a lot during these recent events,” according to its director, Ange Ngassenemo.

“Two children died and several were injured during the looting. We were also visited by Séléka, on the pretext of looking for young thieves, and they also looted what little the children had,” added Ngassenemo.

“We call on the state to help us. Couldn’t they get us running water for the children, who need to wash themselves and their clothes…”

“We unfortunately don’t have the necessary means. This situation is becoming harder and harder as more and more children come here, and taking care of them becomes a crushing burden for our little organization,” he said.

“We call on the state to help us. Couldn’t they get us running water for the children, who need to wash themselves and their clothes… We estimate there are about 6,000 street children in Bangui. If they come to us and we send them away, it becomes dangerous and is not a viable solution. It would be better to help us help them,” he added.

On April 13, armed men thought to be part of Séléka looted a Bangui orphanage run by SOS Children’s Villages, after letting off their weapons to intimidate staff members.

“The children were hiding under their beds. Staff members were in tears when they spoke to me,” said the city’s archbishop, Dieudonné Nzapalainga.

“There are no guns in these houses. There are just children. What’s happening? This was no weapons search, it was looting. Shooting in the air, scaring people to death… I am outraged by this situation,” he said on Radio France Internationale.

Recruited by all sides

Various armed groups continue to recruit children, according to UNICEF, which warned in a 12 April statement that such practices violated international law.

More than 2,000 children, both boys and girls, were associated with armed groups and self-defence organisations before conflict resumed in December 2012, the agency said, adding that the practice continued after the fall of Bangui.

“Recruiting children is both morally unacceptable and forbidden under international law,” said UNICEF’s Diabaté.

“We have called on the new leadership in CAR [Séléka ] to ensure that all children associated with armed groups should be released immediately and protected from further violations [of law],” he said in the statement, adding that those now in power had demonstrated their intention to do just that.

“UNICEF is committed to working with them to ensure that there is an immediate halt to new recruitments and support a process of identification, verification and reintegration of children.”

This paediatric medical centre operated by the NGO EMERGENCY was one the few places children could access emergency care in Bangui during the crisis surrounding a rebel coup in late March 2013

According to Amy Martin, who heads OCHA’s Bangui branch, “The presence of child soldiers is evident amongst the ranks of Séléka.”

“Recruitment into the national army was ongoing a few weeks ago but is less evident now,” added Martin.

Out of school

Insecurity has forced thousands of children and teachers from schools in Bangui, and has interrupted educations in regions in the east and north of the country.

“Schools have remained closed in Bangui and elsewhere since March. There is vacation soon, so families who can afford to hire tutors for catch-up courses will do so over vacation. [But] not everyone can afford this,” said Martin.

The education ministry remains sceptical about the re-opening of schools with insecurity still rife. “The children are understandably at home because the security situation demands it,” said Education Minister Marcel Loudegue.

Schools are also among the properties that have been looted since the rebel takeover, with teachers, like civil servants, remaining unpaid.

In a 23 April statement, UNICEF warned that hundreds of thousands of students are at risk of missing out on the entire school year, “with half the country’s schools shuttered.”

UNICEF’s Diabaté said: “The new government must prioritize protection of and investment in the country’s education system, in order to respect and fulfil children’s basic right to education and to provide this generation of children with hope for a healthy future.”

Literacy levels are low in the CAR, with over one million children out of school in total, according to UNICEF.

cd-k/am-aw/rz  source http://www.irinnews.org

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Post-coup Central African Republic – urgent aid needed

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2013

NAIROBI,  – Less than two weeks after the overthrow of Central African Republic (CAR) President François Bozizé in a rebel coup, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated, leaving civilians in the capital, Bangui, in critical need of aid, said a senior humanitarian official. 

“The main humanitarian needs in Bangui are access to health and nutrition and clean water [and] security and protection of civilians,” Amy Martin, who heads the Bangui branch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told IRIN.

Bozizé was ousted on 24 March after the rebel Séléka coalition overran Bangui, exacerbating the country’s already precarious humanitarian situation. Insecurity had already been rife before the coup, especially in the northeast, and access to basic services was inadequate.

Now, only two hospitals are functioning in Bangui, schools are closed nationwide and civil servants are not yet back to work. Water and electricity services have been interrupted, and insecurity has worsened.

Insecurity

“Insecurity is persistent, with the circulation of arms and poor discipline by the Séléka elements,” said Martin.

Following the coup, there were reports of widespread looting and violence in Bangui. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that 10 metric tons of emergency supplies were stolen from its main warehouse.

“The looting continues in Bangui as well as in towns where Séléka are expanding their presence, notably to the west and northwest of Bangui,” Martin continued.

Regarding the number of people affected by the crisis, she said: “We are using the population figure of the entire country, 4.5 million people, [as the number of people] affected. The most vulnerable people – women, children, elderly, [people living with HIV/AIDS] – are most at risk.”

The insecurity has led to population movements.

“In the northwest, people are fleeing to the bush; in Bangui, a few thousand crossed the River [Oubangui] to Zongo [in DRC], but as the situation calms down they are returning,” said Martin.

Insecurity could also worsen in southeastern CAR, an area affected by activities of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Following the Séléka takeover, Ugandan troops and US military advisers in CAR suspended their search for LRA leader Joseph Kony.

President François Bozizé was ousted in a 24 March rebel coup

“It is unclear whether the Ugandans and the Americans will leave, but if they do, there will be no security forces left in the southeast of CAR to offer any sort of civilian protection,” Ledio Cakaj, an independent researcher focusing on the LRA, told IRIN.

“It is unlikely that the new CAR regime has the capacity to provide security for an area close to 1,000km away from Bangui, same as was the case under the previous government.”

Cakaj added: “It is not clear yet how Kony will respond to the recent developments, but given the history of attacks in CAR it is likely that LRA attacks against civilians will intensify given the lack of protection of civilians [should the Ugandan and American forces depart].”

Food insecurity

The insecurity, which has intensified since December, has affected farming and commercial activities raising food security fears.

“In the interior of the country, people need seeds and agricultural inputs for this agricultural season… Commerce needs to restart to allow people to access goods in markets,” said OCHA’s Martin.

According to a 28 March OCHA update, “The border with all neighbouring countries is closed, which directly affects movement of commercial [goods] and fuel from Douala, which is Bangui’s main commercial and supply line from Cameroon.”

“Land preparation, which should have started in January, is behind schedule in parts,” stated a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) March update.

“The food security situation, which was already alarming… has deteriorated from December 2012 onwards, when the civil conflict escalated,” added the update, warning that the “situation is projected to further deteriorate until the next harvest, in July 2013, especially in the north of Nana-Grebizi, in Ouham and Vakaga regions.”

“It is worth noting that before the crisis erupted, floods in Nana-Gribizi, Ouham and Vakaga prefectures had already affected agricultural activities,” Alessandro Costantino, an economist with FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System on Food, told IRIN.

And more flooding could become a problem: “Every year, flooding occurs in CAR in the middle and towards the end of the rainy season, which spans from April until October in the South, from July to October in the rest of the country,” he said.

Rebels from the northeast

The Séléka rebels mainly come from the restive northeast of CAR, a region that is “geographically isolated, historically marginalized and almost stateless,” according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Circumstances leading to the coup included the “absence of [a] solution to the problem of the armed groups of northeastern CAR; the lack of a programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) for these fighters; and a crippled security system,” said a 27 March ICG blog post.

“The time has come for the Séléka coalition, which took power last weekend, to really demonstrate how committed it is to humanitarian principles and human rights for all Central Africans.”

“The disarmament of the fighters has been planned since the agreements of Libreville in 2008, but it has never taken place due to the lack of political will of the Bozizé regime,” it said.

Séléka leader Michel Djotodjia named himself president after the coup, and “if he remains in power, he will be the first CAR president from the remote, neglected and largely Muslim northeast”, said a blog post in African Arguments.

Djotodjia was the leader of the Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement (UFDR) rebels, who merged with rebels from the Convention Patriotique pour le Salut Wa Kodro (CSPK) and Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix (CPJP) to form the Séléka coalition.

Djotodjia’s government plans to hand over power to an elected president after a three-year transition period. But challenges are already emerging, with opposition critical of the composition of the new cabinet named by Séléka on 31 March, days after the suspension of the constitution and the dissolution of CAR’s National Assembly.

Access problems

At present, hundreds of thousands of people remain cut off from aid and essential services.

According to UNICEF, children are among the worst affected, with some two million lacking access to basic social services and exposed to violence.

“Children in the Central African Republic were some of the most vulnerable in Africa even before the recent upsurge in fighting,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa, in a 29 March statement.

“It is imperative to have full and secure access to communities affected by the conflict. With every lost day, every thwarted delivery and every stolen supply, more children may die.”

Fontaine added, “The time has come for the Séléka coalition, which took power last weekend, to really demonstrate how committed it is to humanitarian principles and human rights for all Central Africans.”

aw/rz

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CAR ousted president took power through a coup himself in 2003.

Posted by African Press International on April 3, 2013

 Central African Republic Ousted leader Bozize now blames Chad for aiding troops that overthrew him on Sunday – The foprmer leader is now hiding in Cameroon,

Mr Bozize, took over power in a coup in 2003. He later organised elections and won two subsequent elections, but ii is believed his syle of leadership forced the people to vote for him.

Now he blames Chad saying “We had a solid and friendship relation with the Chadian authorities. Chad alone can give an explanation,” he said.

The man should not cry now when he himself forced himslef into leadership through a coup.

The Chadian President Idriss Deby who have been providing Mr Bozize with his personal guards, lost trust in him after the later started courting the South African government. A thing that did not please the Chadian leader.

The new leader now in CAR says he will rule until 2016 when elections is due. But with the ECOWAS meeting now being held in Chad, it is not known if the union wants to sent an army to return the country to Civilian rule.

End.

 

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