Following the violence that erupted over Presidential election result in Central African Republic (CAR), at least 200, 000 citizens were reported to have left the country crossing into the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighbouring nations to seek refuge.
As gathered, some of over 200,000 displaced citizens have started agreeing to have sex in return for food in order to survive pending when the aids from African nations and donor organisation will come their way.
The current fighting between a coalition of militias on the one side and the national army as well as its backers on the other was sparked by a Constitutional Court decision to bar former president, Francois Bozize’s candidacy in the Dec. 27, 2020 presidential election.
U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) disclosed that about 92,000 refugees have reached DRC and more than 13,000 have crossed into Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Congo. The rest are displaced inside the Central African Republic.
Ongoing attacks have hampered humanitarian access, the main road used to bring supplies has been forced to shut inside the country, and many are now facing “dire conditions”, Cheshirkov added.
Since the court ruling, the CAR army, backed by U.N., Russian and Rwandan troops, has been battling rebels seeking to overturn a Dec. 27 vote in which President Faustin-Archange Touadera was declared the winner.
The agency’s spokesman, Boris Cheshirkov, in Geneva, Switzerland, confirmed the development said: “Refugees have told UNHCR that they fled in panic when they heard gunshots, leaving their belongings behind. And that Malaria, respiratory tract infections, and diarrhoea have become common”.
While voicing his concern about the reported presence of armed groups in the Batangafo and Bria camps for the displaced, Cheshirkov added that “those armed groups are trying in some cases to restrict movements and in some cases forcibly recruit. So this is a very concerning situation”.
A former prime minister Martin Ziguele, who came third during the poll, said that there was fighting across the country every day, preventing movement between towns, and pushing more people to flee the country.
The nation of nearly five million people, larger than mainland France, Belgium and Luxemburg combined and rich in diamonds, timber and gold, has struggled to find stability since a 2013 rebellion ousted former president Francois Bozize.
“I cannot leave Bangui and go 90 km (60 miles) without a heavily-armed army escort. Imagine then the population. Add the curfew and the state of emergency, it is really an apocalyptic situation,” Ziguele said.
Ziguele said that while a substantial increase in peacekeepers, as requested by the U.N. envoy in Bangui, was welcomed, a dialogue between all parties was urgently needed.
“A military surge is not the only solution to tackle the security, humanitarian and economic crisis that is threatening to put one of the world’s least developed countries into a complete coma,” he added.
In a statement on Friday, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, a regional body of 12 member states, called for a ceasefire and urged armed groups to “disengage from the encirclement of Bangui” and allow people and goods to move freely.
The body will also ask the United Nations Security Council to lift an arms embargo imposed on CAR that has restricted the flow of weapons to the army since 2013.