Following the United Nation’s Security Council resolution to send 11,800 blue helmet peacekeepers to the Central African Republic (CAR) UK-based churches' international development NGO Christian Aid has stressed the urgent need to disarm warring factions and scale up protection for the 980,000 civilians displaced so far by violence.
Six thousand African Union (AU) troops and 2,000 French troops have been unable to contain the blood-letting in the capital Bangui and other towns in the north-west where thousands of people have been killed and close to a quarter of the population – 1.6 million people – are now in urgent need of aid.
"We welcome the Security Council’s intervention but the peacekeepers won’t arrive until September. In the interim period we strongly urge the UN to provide greater protection to the 280,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have sought refuge in 70 camps in the capital Bangui, as well as the 700, 000 others scattered throughout the country," warns Salome Ntububa, Christian Aid’s regional emergency officer for Central Africa.
"We also call on the UN to step up the disarmament of Christian and Muslim militias in order to allow the transitional government to prepare for the forth-coming democratic elections," she added.
Although an emergency contingent of 55 European Union (EU) troops was sent to Bangui this week to help to limit the resurgent violence, timely assistance is critical before the seasonal rains start and the humanitarian situation deteriorates even further, according to Ntububa.
"Human rights abuses are escalating and hundreds of people are reported to have been killed every day. Humanitarian assistance is critical since many local and international organisations are unable to access the most vulnerable people, particularly children and the elderly, who are trapped in the most affected zones of the country.’
The CAR has been in turmoil for more than a year since a military coup in March 2014," she said.
According to reports, the proportion of Muslims in CAR's population has now shrunk from around 15 per cent to two per cent, and 300,000 refugees are reported to have fled to neighbouring countries.
Christian Aid is working through the Lutheran World Federation in CAR to provide clean wells, sanitation facilities and tents.