[Christian man chases suspected Seleka officer near Bangui airport. 9 Dec 2013]
UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua): The UN Refugee Agency ( UNHCR) said that at least 45 people have been killed this week and scores wounded in new violence and reprisal attacks in and around Bambari in the Central African Republic (CAR), UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Friday.
“The violence also resulted in thousands more people fleeing to displacement sites around the town,” Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.
The violence began early on Monday when armed elements attacked a camp just south of Bambari housing Muslims from the Peul ethnic group.
The attack prompted retaliation inside Bambari against other armed elements and the civilian population. Those fleeing the violence have sought shelter in displacement sites around the town, which lies some 380 kilometers northeast of the capital Bangui.
“People urgently need better protection, shelter, water and sanitation, as well as food and other items,” he said, quoting UNHCR. “The agency is sending in non-food items, mainly tarpaulins. ”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) said that agencies are supporting the hospital in Bambari and providing food, water and emergency items to the displaced there.
In the last two days, 13 emergency latrines and 10 showers have been installed at the Eveche site, and the main water point has now been chlorinated.
“However, the tense security situation in and around Bambari continues to hamper humanitarian access, including threats against staff and the theft of stocks and equipment,” Dujarric said.
Tension has been at boiling point in Bambari since May, when widespread fighting displaced more than 13,000 people. Armed groups have continued fighting since and attacking the local population. Tens of people have been killed or injured, and hundreds of homes have been razed. Prices of basic goods are meanwhile soaring.
The resumed conflict has also halted many activities at the nearby refugee camp of Pladama Ouaka, just 10 kilometers from Bambari. The camp hosts about 1,960 Sudanese refugees — people who fled to the Central African Republic in 2007 due to fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region.
This week’s fighting has further restricted the refugees’ movements in the area. UNHCR is doing what it can to help cope with the situation in cooperation with national and international partners. There are approximately 10,660 refugees and asylum- seekers in the Central African Republic.
To date, almost 140,000 people from the Central African Republic have sought refuge in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and the Republic of Congo since December 2013. Most of the people are seeking refuge in Cameroon, where last week UNHCR registered more than 3,000 people.