Recent clashes between government forces and rebels in the north of the Central African Republic (CAR) forced more than 2,000 refugees into neighboring Chad over the past week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
NEW YORK, USA, April 20, 2021, – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – “According to the agency, newcomers to Chad reported having fled the fighting, as well as looting, extortion and other acts of violence at the hands of rebel groups. Most of the displaced were from the Kaga-Bandoro, Batangafo and Kabo regions of the Central African Republic.
UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said that to reach Chad, people had to wade up to their shoulders through the Grande Sido River, which flows along the Chad-CAR border, some with their meager belongings in the head.
“The refugees are now settled in the village of Gandaza and the border town of Sido, although some have to resort to crossing back to the Central African Republic to find food or salvage what little remains of their property,” he added.
Violence erupted throughout the Central African Republic after last December’s controversial elections, with armed elements allied with former President François Bozizé attacking several cities and towns. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced within the country and towards neighbors.
Chad is currently hosting about 11,000 of the total 117,000 Central African refugees who also fled to Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo (ROC) as a result of post-election violence.
Long-standing humanitarian crisis
The influx has dropped sharply since mid-March after government forces and their allies recaptured most of the rebel strongholds, UNHCR said. The truce allowed some 37,000 previously internally displaced (IDP) people to return to their areas of origin, who now need help to rebuild their lives, he added.
About the size of France, the Central African Republic has been plagued with conflict and insecurity for years.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 2.8 million people in the Central African Republic (57 percent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. The situation has been further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, with an increase in hunger, loss of livelihoods, school closings and a reported increase in violence against women and children.
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