Fresh fighting sees more displacement in northern Central African Republic

News Stories, 20 September 2013

© UNHCR/ D. Mbaiorem
UNHCR staff in Paoua to assist and assess the needs of the displaced

BANGUI, Central African Republic, September 20 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency said on Friday that new fighting has sparked fresh displacement this week in the north-west of the troubled Central African Republic.

Heavy clashes were reported from last Saturday to Tuesday between unidentified armed groups in and around the towns of Bossembele and Bossangoa, 150 kilometres and 300 kilometres north-west of the capital Bangui respectively. "As of now, fighting appears to have subsided in the area, but the situation remains very tense," said a UNHCR spokesperson.

On Thursday, a UNHCR team arrived in Bossangoa as part of an inter-agency mission with sister UN organizations and several NGOs to assess the extent of the displacement as well as the humanitarian needs of the affected populations in the region. People they met spoke of multiple abuses by both sides in the conflict, including murder, rape, and torture.

Further north at Paoua, in Ouham-Pendé prefecture, UNHCR staff on the ground since Monday, saw new displacement and heard further accounts of human rights violations. People were fleeing from a nearby village (Benamkouna) following rumours of a retaliatory attack over the killing of a local man. Colleagues say that people are also living in fear in Paoua, where last week the town emptied after rumours of an attack.

"People told us that those who returned to their villages had to flee again, and spoke of arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, extortion and illegal taxation by armed men," the UNHCR spokesperson said.

In the village of Korozian, 35 kilometres from Paoua, UNHCR field staff heard that relatives of people who had been arrested were being forced to pay ransoms to secure their release. Five children, who had been hiding in the bush without shelter during the rainy season, were said to have died of cold and malaria.

Despite the unstable situation, UNHCR is continuing to assist displaced people in Paoua, either directly or through partner aid agencies. "We are providing aid kits consisting of tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, jerry cans, buckets, soap and hygienic kits for all women and girls. Our distribution started yesterday and aims to reach some 3,000 recently uprooted people," the spokesperson said.

UNHCR continues to urge all armed parties engaged in fighting in the Central African Republic to take more effective measures to protect civilians and prevent indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.

Violence in CAR since December 2012 has uprooted an estimated 227,000 people and forced into exile another 60,800, mostly women and children, to neighbouring countries.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Central African Republic: Urgent Appeal

You can help save the lives of thousands of refugees

Donate to this crisis

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Displacement in Libya: Misrata, Benghazi and Tobruk

Thousands of people still remain displaced in eastern Libya as a result of the conflict that erupted in mid-February between government and opposition forces. Most are staying with host families, in empty buildings or schools. Other people of concern to UNHCR, such as refugees and asylum-seekers, have fled conflict areas such as Misrata by boat to safer locations. They are now hoping to return to their homes in Libya, be resettled to a third country, or to return to their countries of origin. UNHCR's Helene Caux has photographed the plight of internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees and migrants in Misrata, Benghazi and Tobruk.

Displacement in Libya: Misrata, Benghazi and Tobruk

Displacement in South Sudan: A Camp Within a Camp

In the three weeks since South Sudan erupted in violence, an estimated 200,000 South Sudanese have found themselves displaced within their own country. Some 57,000 have sought sanctuary at bases of UN peace-keepers across the country. These photos by UNHCR's Senior Regional Public Information Officer Kitty McKinsey give a glimpse of the daily life of the 14,000 displaced people inside the UN compound known locally as Tong Ping, near the airport in Juba, South Sudan's capital. Relief agencies, including UNHCR, are rallying to bring shelter, blankets and other aid items, but in the first days, displaced people had to fend for themselves. The compounds have taken on all the trappings of small towns, with markets, kiosks, garbage collection and public bathing facilities. Amazingly, children still manage to smile and organize their own games with the simplest of materials.

Displacement in South Sudan: A Camp Within a Camp

Displacement Challenges for Libya

Libya endured severe upheaval in 2011 and the next government faces major challenges moving the country forward after four decades of Muammar Gaddafi's rigid rule. One task will be addressing and resolving the issue of tens of thousands of internally displaced people. Some are waiting for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt, but many more have been forced to desert their towns and villages because of their perceived support for Gaddafi and alleged crimes committed during the conflict. Meanwhile, growing numbers of people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, are coming to Libya from sub-Saharan Africa on well travelled mixed migration routes. Some are being detained as illegal immigrants, though many are people of concern. Others have risked the dangerous sea crossing to southern Europe.

Displacement Challenges for Libya

Ukraine: Displacement TraumaPlay video

Ukraine: Displacement Trauma

Across Eastern Ukraine, thousands face internal exile, lost homes and jobs and a very uncertain future.
Iraq: Breaking BreadPlay video

Iraq: Breaking Bread

Shareef fled to Iraq a year ago to escape the violence in Syria. He opened a bakery, which has done great business. When he heard about a new wave of displacement in northern Iraq in August, he decided to help those in need by providing bread.
Iraq: Children traumatised by the terror of flightPlay video

Iraq: Children traumatised by the terror of flight

When militants attacked Sinjar and other towns in northern Iraq in early August, tens of thousands of people fled into the mountains. They included many traumatised children, whose lives were brutally disrupted by violence and their sudden displacement.