CAR refugees sleep in the open af­ter fleeing to DRC

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

KINSHASA: ES­CA­LAT­ING vi­o­lence in the un­sta­ble Cen­tral African Re­pub­lic (CAR) has driven more than 102 000 civil­ians into the equally un­govern­able Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo (DRC).

Of th­ese, 60000 have fled to the neigh­bour­ing coun­try since eth­nic vi­o­lence be­tween Chris­tian diehards and Mus­lim rad­i­cals peaked in CAR in May.

The refugees are ac­com­mo­dated in churches, derelict build­ings, schools and clin­ics while some are sleep­ing in the open af­ter cross­ing the CAR bor­der into DRC. “Refugees are stay­ing ev­ery­where they can. They des­per­ately need more health­care, food and shel­ter,” a UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees spokesman said.

In­ces­sant clashes be­tween Is­lamist and Chris­tian ex­trem­ists have bat­tered CAR since 2013 when the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Boz­ize, a Chris­tian, was over­thrown.

Mus­lim leader Michel Am-Non­dokro Djo­to­dia took over but re­signed a year later af­ter an up­surge in vi­o­lence. The govern­ment of Faustin-Ar­change Touadéra, elected last year, has strug­gled to stem the an­ar­chy.

The DRC is also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mil­i­tancy that has wors­ened since Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila re­mained in power de­spite the ex­piry of his man­date late last year. Thou­sands of Con­golese have fled to An­gola, which it­self is un­der­go­ing ten­sion ahead of elec­tions set for next month.

Of the $55 mil­lion (R712 mil­lion) the UN needs for the DRC-CAR sit­u­a­tion this year, only $2.8 mil­lion has been re­ceived.–

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