Kinshasa — REBEL groups have reportedly dragged patients from hospital beds and shot them dead in the worsening crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR).
This has forced doctors to flee to neighbouring countries, worsening an already dire access to health caused by attacks on hospitals and ambulances ferrying civilians wounded during the insurgency.
Doctors Without Borders painted a grim picture of the situation posed by severe fights between Christian and Muslim rebel movements.
The organisation said the past year also witnesses shooting inside medical facilities, and patients being forcibly removed from their beds and executed in cold blood.
"In the past year, we have treated patients who have been shot, stabbed, beaten, burned in their homes and raped," said Frédéric Lai Manantsoa, Doctors Without Borders Head of Mission in CAR.
"In 2017 we witnessed levels of violence against the civilian population in CAR that evoked the worst months of the conflict of 2013-14."
Last year, the medical organisation suffered an average of three attacks per month against its medical facilities, vehicles and staff.
In the southeast Zemio, rebel groups fired bullets at 7 000 refugees sheltered there forcing them to flee. A baby was shot dead in her mother's arms.
Pierre Yakanza, MSF coordination assistant, is among those who fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"In Zemio, there is no administrative authority and anyone can do whatever they want," Yakanza said.
Violence forced a fifth of the 4,5 million people in the lawless CAR in 2017.
This is the highest number of displaced people since the crisis began in 2013.