Bangui — REBEL groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) have killed at least six teachers and education officials as atrocities in the war-torn country escalate.
A United Nations Chidren's Fund (UNICEF) education consultant, two officials of the Ministry of Education and three members of a UNICEF national partner organisation were murdered recently in the northwestern Markounda while traveling to provide training for community teachers.
The teachers were to start teaching in temporary learning spaces set up by UNICEF and partners for 2 000 crisis-affected children in Markounda.
The minors have been denied formal education and access to basic services during the conflict between Muslim extremists and Christian radicals.
Members of the Security Council, UN's supreme body, expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and to the administration of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.
Karel van Oosterom, the council's president, expressed concern at the ongoing clashes between armed groups and the attacks against civilians, in particular those perpetrated on a communal basis, UN peacekeepers and humanitarian workers.
He also lamented incitement to ethnic and religious hatred and violence, which continue to destabilize the Central African country and cause heavy civilian casualties and significant population displacements.
This is despite agreement by parties to the conflict to an immediate cessation of hostilities.
CAR, the landlocked country with some 5 million people, has been at war since Muslim rebel groups overthrew then-president, François Bozizé Yangouvonda. Half of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. The crisis has emanated in some 550 000 refugees and about 700 000 internally displaced people.