The Seleka rebel group officially disbanded in March following a coup in which their leader Michel Djotodia took the presidency. However, fighters formerly belonging to the Muslim militia have carried out attacks on Christian communities, resulting in a backlash from Christian militias.
The situation today in CAR
- Three days of fighting between rival Muslim and Christian militias in Bangui claimed 394 lives in early December.
- Of this number, 38 killed in clashes between opposing groups.
- Following this period of violence, a UN Security Council resolution ordered the restoration of order by any means necessary.
- 1,600 French troops were ordered into the CAR.
- The following day, the French announce that African Union troops would increase from 2,500 to 6,000.
- The UN says around 460,000 people - or 10% of the population - have been forced from their homes by the fighting.
- Over 1 million people are in need of food aid.
Normality returning to Bangui despite sporadic violence
Violence has extended far beyond the fighting forces alone. Aid agencies claim that, at the height of December's violence, ex-Seleka forces took nine injured young men whom they believed to be part of a Christian militia from Bangui hospital and killed them. Unicef reports that many children are thought to have been killed in attacks in the capital, and the conflict is affecting other parts of the country as well. In the northern town of Bossangoa, 40,000 Christians were forced to seek refuge in a church, while 7,000 Muslims sheltered in a school on the opposite side of town. According to the BBC, a Christian militia attacked an imam’s house and killed many of those sheltering there.
SOS Children’s local team in Bangui reports that the situation improved after the arrival of troops. A month on, the capital is relatively calm. No children or staff in our Children’s Village were harmed, and all SOS families remained together during the worst period of fighting. The Village is receiving joint protection from the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC) and the French Army to keep families safe. Our colleagues on the ground say that a degree of normality has returned to the city, with people resuming work and other everyday activities. SOS Mothers were with the children at all times during the peak of the violence, and other SOS staff were able to return to work shortly afterwards. Our Children's Village in Bouar has not been affected.
Emergency relief for the most vulnerable
With over two decades of experience in the CAR, we are well-placed to deliver emergency relief to those affected by the fighting:
- We have been delivering emergency relief to the most vulnerable people in the CAR since spring 2013.
- Our focus is on providing shelter for the unaccompanied children who have fled their homes.
- As well as the areas surrounding our Villages in Bangui and Bouar, we are targeting refugee camps in border territories in neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.
- In Cameroon, our focus in on refugee camps near the eastern border.
- In Chad, our focus is on the town of Gore.
- We are providing food for refugees as well as vital nourishment to young children, and expectant and new mothers.
You can help. By sponsoring a child in the CAR, you will ensure a vulnerable child gets the long-term care they need to thrive:
A monthly donation to our work will help those most in need of your support:
Find out more about our work in CAR...