27 July 2018

Central African Republic: Attacks On Aid Workers Rise in Central African Republic

Dakar — "Humanitarian actors have been forced to drastically reduce their activities"

Armed groups are increasingly attacking aid workers in Central African Republic, obstructing delivery of life-saving supplies to people caught in conflict, the United Nations said on Friday.

The number of attacks in the country - one of the world's most dangerous for humanitarian workers - has increased since April this year, said the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA recorded 118 incidents affecting humanitarian workers from April to June, compared with 63 in the first three months of the year, said country head Joseph Inganji. These include armed robberies, murder and kidnapping.

"This is something that is really worrying - the rate at which we are recording incidents against humanitarians," Inganji told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Humanitarian actors have been forced to drastically reduce their activities, thereby adversely affecting the most vulnerable and needy people who rely on them for survival."

Armed robberies are among the most common incidents, he said, but it is difficult to distinguish criminality from militia violence since bandits sometimes pose as fighters and fighters sometimes act individually as bandits.

Central African Republic has been gripped by militia violence since rebels ousted the former president in 2013, setting off a chain of reprisal attacks. More than half the population is in need of aid, Inganji said.

Five aid workers have been killed in Central African Republic so far this year, according to the Aid Worker Security Database.

Much of the violence in recent months has been around the northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where clashes continue and thousands of displaced people have yet to receive aid.

"We know that there are lots of needs but we haven't been able to deliver assistance," said Caroline Courtois, a manager for French charity Solidarites International.

The organisation has been forced to repeatedly suspend and delay its programmes because of incidents including vehicles being stolen and staff members' houses broken into, she said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also said it had been forced to reduce activities because of attacks on its staff in recent months. ICRC provides food, water, healthcare and more to tens of thousands of people in the area.

"The question of finding a balance between staying involved and staying safe is one of the biggest challenges we face," said ICRC chief of delegation Jean-Francois Sangsue.

(Reporting by Nellie Peyton, editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Central African Republic

Judges Close Reparations Proceedings in Bemba's War Crimes Trial

Following Jean-Pierre Bemba's acquittal two months ago at the International Criminal Court (ICC), judges have closed the… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Thomson Reuters Foundation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.