Humanitarian aid workers with Doctors Without Borders are scaling back their work at a site in the Central African Republic due to continued violent attacks including armed robberies and sexual assault.
The organizations said two “grave incidents” at their site in and around the town of Batangafo occurred in the past week, with at least 16 such attacks occurring so far this year.
“The assaults consist mostly of violent robberies. They are perpetrated by groups of armed men who attack our staff on motorbikes as they transport patients, community health workers who provide care in rural areas, or convoys of vehicles with staff on their way to outreach activities,” the group said in a statement.
In March and August this year, sexual attacks occurred against aid workers and caretakers.
“Our teams are robbed relentlessly at gunpoint, and the evasive responses from local armed groups, who always attribute the actions to uncontrolled elements to avoid any responsibility, are unacceptable,” said Gisa Kohler, the organization’s manager of operations in the C.A.R.
“While the conflict in CAR may not be in the spotlight, violence against local people is happening here all the time.”
Kohler said Doctors Without Borders remains committed to work in the C.A.R. but is obligated to protect its staff, local partners and the public. A site closure at Kabo, established for 16 years, was needed last year due to violence in the northern part of the country.
Image: Doctors Without Borders