Civilians in Central African Republic live in fear: UN humanitarian official

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John Ging

Civilians in the Central African Republic live in fear in squalid conditions because of the takeover by armed groups in recent months, according to a senior United Nations humanitarian official.

John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has just returned from a mission to the region.

He told reporters in New York on Tuesday that half of the 4.6 million people in the Central African Republic are in need of humanitarian assistance, "but the number one issue today is protection."

He said armed groups are committing indescribable atrocities against the civilian population.

"They are instilling incredible fear among all communities. What we witnessed when we visited Bossangoa was that both the Muslim community and the Christian community were seeking shelter in the most appalling humanitarian conditions, the Christian community around a church anything in the order of 35,000 people living in most squalid conditions because they feared for their lives where armed groups were attacking the innocent women, children and men of their community."(29")

Mr. Ging said in less than two kilometres away Muslim communities were in the exactly same situation where they are being targeted by armed groups purporting to be from the Christian communities.

He said this is a new dimension to the crisis in which armed groups from one community target innocent civilians in the other to incite both communities against each other.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1’24″

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