Women and children targeted in Central African Republic atrocities

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This man is crying after surviving an attack on his village between Bossangoa and Bossembele in the Central African Republic. UNHCR/B. Heger

United Nations humanitarian agencies have expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the Central African Republic, saying it was hampering delivery of assistance to nearly 2.6 million people.

United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) is warning that the growing tension and violence amongst communities in the country may escalate into large scale massacres.

UNICEF says children are increasingly becoming the victims of violence and forced recruitment by armed groups.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says its food distribution activities have been temporarily put on hold as violence and looting continues to spread.

The UN Human Rights Office(OHCHR) is accusing rebel groups and self-defense militia groups of indiscriminately targeting civilians in their homes and camps for displaced people.

Rupert Colville is the spokesperson for the UN Human Rights office in Geneva.

"The fighting yesterday left dozens of people dead. An exact number is not available at the moment but it could be more than 100 including seven children. Hundreds of other people were also injured. On Thursday, between 4:00 and 5:00 am, coordinated attacks with heavy weapons were reported to have taken place in four areas of Bangui, including Camp Kassai. These attacks are alleged to have been carried out by self-defence militias, known as anti-Balaka, with support from well-equipped but as yet unidentified elements. Several ex-Séléka officers are reported to have been killed during the attacks which lasted several hours. In retaliation, Muslim civilians were allegedly given weapons by the ex-Séléka forces and retaliatory attacks between Christians and Muslim communities were reported in numerous locations in the capital. Ex-Séléka soldiers reportedly executed 10 people in a hospital."

The United Nations estimates that nearly 2.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic.

Over 415,000 people have been internally displaced by the ongoing political crisis.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 2:09″


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