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CAR: Providing urgent care in post-election conflict

05 Jan 2021

On Sunday January 3, the coalition of non-state armed groups attacked and took control of Bangassou, a town in the southeast of the Central African Republic on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams transported and urgently treated some of the wounded at the Bangassou Regional University Hospital (HRUB), a health structure that we have supported since 2014.

Twenty-five-year-old Philomène, one of 8,000 people living in Ngakobo camp for displaced people in Central African Republic. She is due to give birth to her fifth child. © Adrienne Surprenant / Collectif / MSF

The attack in Bangassou is the latest in a context of sharp deterioration in security linked to the electoral process in the Central African Republic. On December 27, the country held high-tension legislative and presidential elections, marked by numerous armed incidents in the country. On December 28, several people were killed, including an MSF employee, when a public transport truck was targeted by gunfire in Grimari, near Bambari.

“On the eve of this attack, thousands of residents had fled the city and crossed the Mbomou river to seek refuge in Ndu, in DRC, where MSF is also supporting the local health centre,” says Emmanuel Lampaert, MSF head of mission. “MSF is increasing our support to the health centre with human resources, medicines and vaccines, and we are currently analysing how to further strengthen our medical support to the displaced people in Ndu.”

This new deterioration in the security context further complicates the already extremely limited access of thousands of Central Africans to essential medical care.

Emmanuel Lampaert
MSF Head of Mission
MSF teams remain mobilised to provide humanitarian and medical aid to people. While some activities have had to be reduced or suspended due to the significant increase in security risks for our patients and staff, most services provided by MSF are ongoing.
 
“Since 21 December, more than 110 wounded have already been taken care of by our teams in Bossangoa, Bangui, Bangassou, Bambari and Batangafo,” says Lampaert. “This new deterioration in the security context further complicates the already extremely limited access of thousands of Central Africans to essential medical care, in a country plagued by a state of chronic medical emergency.”
The road near the Élevage internally displaced people’s site on the outskirts of Bambari, where more than 15,000 people displaced from their homes due to conflict currently live. © Adrienne Surprenant / Collectif / MSF

MSF calls on all armed groups to facilitate the work of healthcare workers to ensure the provision of timely medical care, to respect their obligations to protect civilians and humanitarian workers, to respect health facilities, ambulances, medical staff, as well as patients and their caretakers.