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Press Release

Central African Republic: Deadly violence forces suspension of aid as thousands displaced

Last updated 
  • The IRC strongly condemns the systematic targeting of humanitarian workers by armed actors over the past months in Kaga-Bandoro and the violent acts committed on October 12, 2016
  • The IRC urges MINUSCA to continue to reinforce its presence in Kaga-Bandoro, restore order, and prove protection to civilians
  • Stability and security in Kaga-Bandoro is paramount to enable humanitarian workers to deliver much needed aid and services to the affected population
  • The IRC has been forced to temporarily suspend its humanitarian operations and relocate staff to Bangui

The deadliest wave of violence in a year has forced the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to temporarily suspend its humanitarian programme just one day after it had resumed activities in the north. The violence erupted in the northern town of Kaga-Bandoro in the early morning of October 12, 2016, as armed groups looted and burned homes, looted NGO offices, and attacked civilians indiscriminately with axes and heavy weapons, burning and killing 29 civilians (including three children and one humanitarian worker) and wounding 49. The IRC has relocated staff until security can be assured not only for them but also for civilians in Kaga-Bandoro.

Over the past few months IRC premises and staff have been attacked and violently robbed multiple times. This recent episode, marking a further escalation in violence in an already tense and insecure environment, has also resulted in the displacement of thousands of families who were already living in dire situations. More than 5,000 people are now gathered outside the MINUSCA compound seeking safety, but desperately needed humanitarian assistance has been slow to materialise due to the violence. A number of IRC staff have lost their homes and count among the newly displaced. The IRC is looking into ways of helping those affected, but cannot fully implement in these conditions.

The blatant targeting of humanitarians over the past few months in Kaga-Bandoro has now reached a boiling point and the risks our staff face each day in delivering aid are now beyond any acceptable level. This flagrant disregard for humanitarian principles has led to appallingly low levels of access to those who need it the most.

-Modou Diaw, Central African Republic Country Director

The IRC urges MINUSCA to continue to appropriately reinforce its presence in Kaga-Bandoro, restore order, and provide vital protection to civilians. The only way humanitarian workers will be able to deliver much-needed aid and services to the affected population is through improved and sustained security in Kaga-Bandoro. 

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.

Notes to Editors

More than 2.3 million people, nearly half of the country's population, are in need of humanitarian assistance. The Population Movement Commission (CMP) in July 2016 reported that almost 380,000 people remain internally displaced while more than 468,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries including Chad, DRC, Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan. As of April 30, 2016 the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for the CAR was funded at 10% for a total of USD $53.7 million, a decrease of 15% as compared to the 25% HRP funding received in 2015 during the same period, placing CAR amongst the bottom four HRPs in terms of funding received. This underfunding has an impact not only on the scope of the response but also on the partner’s response capacity, despite the dire and constant humanitarian needs among vulnerable groups in CAR, and puts the country at risk of becoming the world’s largest forgotten crisis.