The United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Najat Rochdi, on Wednesday denounced the current "unacceptable" humanitarian tragedy in Batangafo, Ouham prefecture (north-west of the Central African Republic), where over 30,000 displaced persons have lost everything as a result of violence and looting. Clashes erupted on 31 October 2018 between anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka (FPRC/MPC) following isolated incidents opposing elements of both armed groups.
"The level of despair is unacceptable. Why engage in such viciousness?”, Ms. Rochdi questioned. She visited the area on November 4, with WFP, WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF and OCHA. "I witnessed the emergency situation provoked by the attacks. Speaking at a press conference in Bangui, the Deputy Special Representative, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator said: “The fire destroyed more than 5,100 tents as well as the market and caused the displacement of around 30,000 people".
The Deputy Special Representative, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator stressed that despite the enormous and multi-sectoral needs, aid distribution has already started, including drugs and food. She payed tribute to humanitarian actors who stayed in Batangafo despite pressures. "We will not give up," she added.
On the incidents, the DSRSG-RC-HC said that MINUSCA has sent reinforcements to Batangafo, which are, “indispensable for the protection of civilians ". She also questioned the sincerity of ex-Selekas and anti-Balakas who provoked the incidents despite a signature of a local peace agreement. " They must be held accountable. They cannot say that they are engaged in the dialogue and peace process and, at the same time, hurt civilians".
On his part, MINUSCA spokesperson Vladimir Monteiro said that aside the deployment of additional peacekeepers in Batangafo, MINUSCA is also continuing patrols in Bambari, despite the shootings by ex-Seleka UPC. He recalled that peacekeepers neither target civilians nor any particular community during the operation in Bambari contrary to ex-Seleka’s manipulations.