Since the beginning of the year, violent clashes between criminalized armed groups and armed civilians — so-called ‘auto-defence groups’ — and attacks on the civilian population have mounted. Marked by widespread human rights violations, entire neighbourhoods and villages have been burned down and whole cities emptied. Overall, the number of IDPs has reached 601,142 – nearly half of them children, while one in two people need aid to survive.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, visited the Central African Republic from 24 to 27 October. His visit highlighted the degradation of the humanitarian situation. During his visit, he travelled to the town of Bangassou in the southeast where since May there has been continuous violence and where approximately 1,500 IPDs of one ethnic group are confined to a church where an armed group allows no entry or exit from the site.
Students from ETAPEs (Temporary Learning and Child Protection Area) and refugees will now be exempt from tuition fees in schools in the return areas. This measure was taken 12 October 2017, with immediate effect, by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research. It responds to a request from displaced families both in Bangui and in the provinces.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Violent clashes and inter-communal tensions fuelled by armed groups have continuously increased in the Central African Republic (CAR). In the absence of an effective judicial system and basic security services by the public administration, armed groups have continued to perpetrate violent and destabilizing acts, of which the civilian population is the main victim. The targeting of minorities, including women and children, has resurfaced, with killings and attacks against communities multiplying.
Conflict and forced displacement is increasingly widespread and impacting previously unaffected parts of the country. As the crisis further expands towards the southeast and northwest of the country, there are new displacements and there is a significant risk that the condition of people previously displaced that remain in camps will deteriorate. Nearly one family out of four has already been forced to flee or seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
During the month of October, the new areas of violence occurred in the northwest (Bocaranga and Niem) and southeast (Pombolo, Dimbi, Gambo, Pavica) of CAR causing new displacements and humanitarian needs. Armed groups have taken over several localities, in particular the cities of Bocaranga and Niem and the ensuing confrontations have caused a large number of displacements. The vast majority of the inhabitants of Bocaranga, 15,000, and those of Niem, 8,000, took refuge in the bush where they cannot access humanitarian assistance. These incidents occurred as acts of violence against humanitarian personnel in the area had also recently prompted several actors to temporarily suspend their activities.
Humanitarian access remains a major challenge for an effective response in the southeast in the face of increasing population displacement. The area remains virtually inaccessible to humanitarian aid.