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Central African Republic: Stop killings and protect civilians

31-01-2014 News Release

Geneva / Bangui (ICRC) – Intercommunal violence has been raging for weeks in the Central African Republic, but in recent days the geographical extent and murderous intensity has reached levels that are of extreme concern to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Alarmed by numerous deaths among the civilian population, the ICRC and the Central African Red Cross Society urgently call for an immediate end to these outrages and for due respect to be accorded to human life and dignity.

“The population of Bangui and the west of the country is being terrorized,” said Georgios Georgantas, head of the ICRC delegation in the Republic. “Widespread depredations are being committed by armed people against the civilian population, and our field staff have been shocked by the sheer brutal magnitude of these actions.”

Antoine Mbao Bogo, president of the Central African Red Cross, has deplored the disaster sweeping his country. “We are seeing a stunning increase in attacks with knives and other weapons,” he said. “Our volunteers have been working tirelessly on both sides of the intercommunal divide. Their work must absolutely be respected and they themselves spared as they endeavour to save human lives and relieve suffering.” In the past three days alone, he said, there had been 30 deaths in Bangui and a further 60 people seriously injured.

Despite increasingly difficult circumstances, both the ICRC and the Central African Red Cross are continuing to come to the victims’ aid. Humanitarian workers are having to deal with ever greater obstacles to their activities, especially taking injured people to hospital. In the current climate of intercommunal hate, fundamental human rights are being constantly violated.

“The situation will improve only once the leaders shoulder their responsibilities and put a stop to the killings,” Georgantas said. The Red Cross is doing its utmost in a strictly neutral and impartial manner to relieve the suffering.

For further information, please contact:
Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Bangui, tel: +236 75 64 30 07
David-Pierre Marquet, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 02  or  +41 79 536 9248