- Title: UN troops in CAR secure town of Bria after weeks of fighting displaced thousands.
- Date: 2nd June 2017
- Summary: BRIA, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF RUINS OF BURNT HOUSES (SOUNDBITE) (French) MINUSCA DEPUTY FORCE COMMANDER, MAJOR DANIEL TRAORE, SAYING: "I have not seen any armed men besides those from the UN mission, whereas in the past when I came, I would often see armed men in uniform walking around. I have seen any today, now we need to work to maintain that and make sure that things in Bria go back to normal." VARIOUS OF MINUSCA SOLDIERS ON PATROL IN BRIA
- Embargoed: 16th June 2017 14:51
- Keywords: anti-Balaka muslim fighters violence Bria Minusca Conflict
- Location: BRIA, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC /GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: BRIA, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC /GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Central African Republic
- Reuters ID: LVA0036JL5IZB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Calm is slowly returning to Bria, a town in the east of the Central African Republic, but the situation remains tense following weeks of fighting that displaced thousands as violence in the country escalates.
According to the United Nations 22 people died and an estimated 36 injured in the fighting that erupted two weeks ago in Bria between anti-Balaka and an armed faction of the ex-Seleka.
Central African Republic has seen violence since 2013, when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters seized power and ousted then-President Francois Bozize, prompting reprisal killings from Christian anti-balaka militias.
The Seleka and other groups have since splintered, prompting further violence even as the country held a democratic election won by President Faustin-Archange Touadera who was sworn in in March 2016.
Around 10,000 people have been newly displaced as a result of the recent fighting, bringing the total number of internally displaced in Bria to 20,000, with 15,000 seeking shelter at the base of the U.N. peacekeeping force known as MINUSCA.
"What happened here was terrible, we are now forced to bring our children here, where they sleep like animals, because of the fighting. All we hear are gunshots, we hardly have anything to eat, we have no peace. We have no access to healthcare, our houses were burnt down, we have nothing. So it's better to come here and sleep in these makeshift shelters," said one Bria resident, Pauline Madecher.
"Our school closed after the attacks, it's been almost 2 or 3 weeks that we have not gone to school. We were busy preparing for our end of year exams, what will we do for our future?" said another Bria resident, Aicha Dalkia.
Over the past two weeks alone, more than 100,000 people have been newly displaced in the resurgent violence across the Central African Republic.
The U.N. says new emergencies are escalating the already immense needs for sustained humanitarian assistance.
"The country does not have half of its population to contribute to its reconstruction. One in five Central Africans is a refugee or internally displaced; two out of three do not have access to drinking water and basic sanitation. Two out of three do not have access to basic health services. And those who were wounded did not have the treatment and some of them died because of that. Nearly one in two is food insecure in a country where you just throw a seed and then it will grow up on its own because the soil is really, really fertile. Tens of thousands of children bear the consequences of malnutrition and untreated diseases and thousands of women and girls are exposed to gender based violence," said Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Central African Republic (OCHA), Najat Rochdi.
On Wednesday (May 31) MINUSCA said it had secured the town of Bria, and U.N. soldiers have also reinforced their positions in the towns of Bangassou and Alindao, which have also been hit by violence this past two weeks.
Rochdi said the frequency and brutality of attacks in Bangassou, Bria, Alindao and other localities have reached levels not seen since August 2014.
"I have not seen any armed men besides those from the UN mission, whereas in the past when I came, I would often see armed men in uniform walking around. I have seen any today, now we need to work to maintain that and make sure that things in Bria go back to normal," said MINUSCA commander, Daniel Traore.
Around 440,000 people were displaced throughout the country by the end of April and that number could reach 500,000 by this month.
That would represent the most displaced since the height of the crisis in 2013, the U.N. humanitarian office said.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None