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Central African Republic
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The charity began its work in Central African Republic (CAR) in 1992 with the opening of the first SOS Children's Village in Bangui. SOS Children's Villages runs a HIV prevention programme through its school and the Medical and Social centres in Bangui, and helps nearly 6,000 orphaned children. … more about our charity work in Central African Republic

Situation still tense in CAR, SOS families remain safe

We are helping lone children and new mothers forced from home
We are helping lone children and new mothers forced from home

In early December, French troops moved into the Central African Republic (CAR) to support African Union forces following three days of violence in the capital, Bangui. Though the situation remains tense, we can report that no children or staff from our Children’s Village have been harmed. We continue to help the most vulnerable children through our emergency relief programme.

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.
CAR rebels
Rebel fighters in northern CAR

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.

FOMAC peace keeper with children from CV Bangui
A FOMAC peace keeper chats to children from our Children's Village in Bangui

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:

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