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ACAPS Briefing Note: Central African Republic: Conflict-led displacement resulting from electoral violence (19 February 2021)

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CRISIS OVERVIEW

On 15 December, six armed groups (3R, FPRC, MPC, UPC, and the Mokom and Ndomaté Anti-Balaka wings) formed the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) in Central African Republic (CAR) (RFI 20/12/2020). They initially launched an offensive to try and derail the 27 December elections, taking over towns and cities and generating displacement in the western half of the country as well as in central and southern regions. Their activity has continued since the general elections, however. On 13 January they attacked the outskirts of Bangui before being pushed back by Central African Armed Forces, MINUSCA peacekeepers, and Rwandan and Russian troops (DW 13/01/2021). Recently, as CAR armed forces move in, the CPC has left some of the localities that it had taken over. The CPC left Bangassou on 14 January, Boda on 25 January, Bouar on 9 February, and Beloko on 11 February (RFI 16/01/2021; RFI 25/01/2021; RFI 09/02/2021; RFI 11/02/2021).

Over 240,000 people have been internally displaced by the increase in violence since mid-December, including 117,000 people who remain displaced as their villages and towns are still unsafe. Nearly 110,000 refugees have fled to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad, Cameroon, and Republic of Congo (OCHA last accessed 08/02/2021; UNHCR 16/02/2021).

New refugees are mostly arriving in areas that are already hosting CAR refugees from previous displacements. In these areas, the local population already has unmet needs. Beyond specific needs related to existing conditions in host areas, newly arrived refugees require protection assistance, especially in terms of child protection, sexual and gender-based violence, and documentation.

HUMANITARIAN CONSTRAINTS

Humanitarian access is difficult in CAR because of poor road conditions and insecurity. The upcoming rainy season is likely to cut off road access to some refugee-hosting areas in DRC and deteriorate roads in CAR. Likouala department in Republic of Congo, which hosts arrivals from CAR, is still suffering from the effects of flooding from the second half of 2020.

The delivery of aid to affected areas in CAR has been delayed, and in some locations temporarily scaled back or suspended because of the outbreak of violence, although operations are now beginning to resume (ICRC 28/12/2020; The New Humanitarian 05/02/2021; The New Humanitarian 15/02/2021).

The route between Garoua-Boulaï (Cameroon) and Bangui – which more than 80% of the country’s imports transit through – has been blocked because of insecurity since mid-December. On 8 February, a convoy of 14 trucks – nine from the WFP and the rest containing MINUSCA equipment – was able to reach Bangui under MINUSCA escort (Al Jazeera 08/02/2021; The New Humanitarian 05/02/2021).

About this report

This report aims to give an overview of internal displacement flows in CAR and refugee arrivals from CAR in neighbouring countries, as well as insights on existing vulnerabilities and constraints faced by humanitarians. The information presented is based on publicly available information at the time of writing.