Fighting poses new risks to civilians in Central African Republic

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Family internally displaced in Central African Republic (© UNHCR/H.Caux)

Fighting in the south-eastern part of the Central African Republic is posing additional risks to the civilian population and refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This warning comes from the Untied Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), which says it's increasingly worried about the situation in that part of the country.

On Monday, Seleka rebels, who signed a peace agreement with the government two months ago, attacked and took over the town of Bangassou.

UNHCR spokesperson, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba has more.

"The rebels have been advancing eastwards towards the town of Zemio, where we have 3,300 refugees from the Province Orientale in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As well as presenting a security risk, the Seleka advance is further compromising our access to refugees and internally displaced populations. UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies have been forced to temporarily relocate some staff to Bangui, the capital. Although we still have some staff in place, services for refugees are nonetheless reduced." (29")

UNHCR says that clashes since December between Seleka and government forces have seriously restricted humanitarian access to some 5,300 refugees and over 175,000 internally displaced persons.

At the same time, the agency adds, about 29,000 civilians have fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and others are crossing into Chad which has received approximately 5,000 refugees since the beginning of the crisis in the Central African Republic.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1'47"

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