Aid Agencies Looted in Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is experiencing a new episode of disturbing violence. Families are living again in fear of widespread conflict just weeks before the scheduled date of elections. Direct threats have been made against international non-governmental organisations, with Action Against Hunger and others having since had their offices looted.
Violent clashes took place Saturday 26 September in Bangui, the capital, after the death of a motorcycle taxi driver who was killed by unidentified men on Friday night. The outbreak of violence spread across the country: attacks and firefights have taken place every day since and barricades have been erected on different roads, which makes leaving affected areas complicated.
People have been attacked and lynched in the streets. Tensions in the west of the country are high and population movements have already being observed, particularly in areas of Bangui.
The offices of several humanitarian organisations have been the target of looting, including Action Against Hunger's. Alexandre Le Cuziat, Action Against Hunger’s regional director of operations for Africa, said: "We have been the target of looting in Bangui. Our offices have been completely ransacked and destroyed or our stocks stolen. We are concerned about the wellbeing of all affected by this new violence, for those who benefit from our programmes, especially the most vulnerable of them – children and displaced families. "
The threats against humanitarian organizations are a real danger to the 2.7 million people in CAR who need assistance.
In 2014, Action Against Hunger staff in CAR provided assistance to 367,114 people. Our rapid mobile response programmes reached 117,712 beneficiaries in remote areas, where thousands of people sought refuge from violence. More than 10,000 children under 5 years old have been treated against malnutrition. In Bangui alone, more than 800 children have been admitted and treated each month since the beginning of summer 2015. Stopping humanitarian activities would be a tragedy for civilians.
The insecurity which weighs on humanitarian workers is a real obstacle to the delivery of aid," said Le Cuziat. “We can no longer guarantee continuity of support to health facilities because of supply shortages of medicine and therapeutic nutritional food, and because of the insecurity.”
Action Against Hunger operates on the principles of impartiality, neutrality, non-discrimination, intervening daily in areas, and communities, that are identified as vulnerable and in need of humanitarian support. We have been present in CAR for the past nine years. Since the 2013 crisis, our programmes have adapted to new needs along the country’s borders but also among the displaced and CAR refugees in Chad and Cameroon.