Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), said the nation remains under threat and requires the continued support of the UN Security Council in order to assist the CAR in restoring government authority, and meet humanitarian needs.
Nearly one in four Central Africans has been forced from their homes, he said, with more than 1.2 million people either internally displaced or crossing borders for safety.
He cited the violence around Bambari, about 380 kilometers from Bangui, and cases of armed groups looting humanitarian agencies, forcing them to suspend aid operations and compromising those in need. The CAR is one of the deadliest places for humanitarian aid workers: Six died serving the UNICEF children’s agency in February, and there were 14 such fatalities last year, according to an IRIN investigative report published May 31.
“The country cannot afford more clashes among armed groups seeking opportunity to pillage and exploit natural resources,” Onanga-Anyanga said. President Faustin-Archange Touadéra has made progress on transitional justice objectives, but Central Africans “remain desperate to see a functioning state and an end to the criminal activities of armed groups.”
Renewed violence in the country has evolved from years of conflict between Muslim Séléka forces – Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) fighters come primarily from former Séléka rebel groups – and Christian anti-Balaka militia.
Yet it remains an oft-overlooked crisis, with limited international funding support. Tedros Adhanom, the World Health Organization Director General, visited CAR in June and called attention to its plight.
“This country is really neglected even by the media,” Tedros said. “Politically neglected, financially neglected and also operationally neglected. The international community should give the right attention to CAR.”