170,000 displaced by armed violence in north-west CAR: OCHA

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Central African Republic (Credit: OCHA/C. Illemassene)

More than 170,000 people, half of them children, have fled from their homes over the past two weeks in Ouham province in northwest Central African Republic following clashes between former Séléka rebels, self-defence groups and unidentified armed groups.

The clashes began on 7 September in Bossangoa town and have since spread throughout the province. Villages across the province have been emptied of people and several have been razed to the ground by armed groups.

Over 36,000 of the newly displaced have sought refuge inside the compound of the Bossangoa Catholic Church and at a local school. Others have sought refuge in the bush and are in urgent need of humanitarian relief.

On 19-21 September, a UN-led humanitarian mission visited Bossangoa for the first time since March to assess the situation and the needs of the internally displaced people (IDPs).

Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in CAR, Amy Martin said "The clashes have instilled a deeply rooted fear and mistrust among the entire population." She said "Civilians are caught in the middle of the fighting and are at the mercy of anyone with a gun."

And she called on all armed actors to "cease hostilities and respect the rights of the civilian population," and "also create conditions for the prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance."

The UN will maintain a presence in Bossangoa, providing support to people who are urgently in need of clean water, shelter and household items, as well as food.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’23″

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