The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic has called for an immediate end to violence after the clashes that broke out on Monday in Bria town between armed elements of the Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC) and the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC).
About 5,000 displaced civilians as well as local authorities and humanitarian organizations have taken refuge in MINUSCA's premises in the town, and in a news release, the UN Integrated Multifaceted Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) stressed that the armed groups will be held accountable for the violence, particularly against civilian populations.
The Mission also warned the rival groups against attacks on its personnel, facilities and those it protects, underscoring that “any hostile act will have an appropriate response.” On Monday, the MINUSCA base was targeted by RPF elements before peacekeepers fired back and drove them from off. One ‘blue helmet’ was slightly injured in the attack, the Mission said.
“[MINUSCA] has taken robust measures to protect civilians and peacekeepers are patrolling the city of Bria to reassure the population and protect the displaced [persons] sites,” said the news release, adding that the Mission is pursuing mediation efforts together with local and religious authorities. UN agencies are planning a humanitarian response.
Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country into civil conflict in 2013. Despite significant progress and successful elections, the CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest. More than 13,000 UN staff are currently based in the country as part of MINUSCA.