The top United Nations humanitarian official in the Central African Republic (CAR) condemned today the surge in violence against aid workers in the country and appealed to all belligerents to allow them to do their jobs safely, particularly in the wake of a recent attack against a UN food convoy on a major supply route killed its driver.
“I condemn the violence and call on all belligerents to respect and protect humanitarian workers who provide assistance to thousands of people affected by conflict in the country,” said Humanitarian Coordinator Marc Vandenberghe in a statement issued in Bangui, the capital of the CAR.
He strongly condemned the attack against a World Food Programme (WFP) food convoy on 18 July near Baboua, in the north-western part region. The convoy of 20 vehicles escorted by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) peacekeepers, received gun shots that fatally wounded the driver and his vehicle immediately reversed causing injuries to other passengers.
“Humanitarian access continues to be hampered by various constraints in the country, particularly violence against civilians and humanitarian workers,” the humanitarian coordinator said. “The upsurge in armed attacks on the Main Supply Route 1 from the west of the country threatens the continuity of humanitarian activities in the country.”
He underscored the urgent appeal of the humanitarian community in the country to all parties to the conflict to refrain from attacking humanitarian workers, “and they allow them to do their jobs and save lives safely in the whole country.”
More than two years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in CAR amid ongoing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka alliance and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian.
The United Nations estimates that some 450,000 people remain displaced inside the country while thousands of others have sought asylum across the borders.