October 29, 2002

Barcelona/New York City, October 30, 2002 - The international humanitarian medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started an emergency intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) to assist civilians fleeing the battles in the capital, Bangui.

On Friday October 26, rebel troops went into CAR to launch a coup d'état against President Felix Patassé's government. The population is trying to escape the clashes in Bangui, seeking refuge south and north of the city. Some people, including an MSF team, have found refuge at Hôpital de l'Amitié, one of Bangui's public hospitals, where 20 wounded civilians are being treated. MSF is concerned about the situation for civilians and urges all parties in conflict to respect health structures and medical staff. Moreover, MSF is concerned about the security of its team inside the hospital and urges free access to it. When MSF staff tried to reach the hospital to evacuate its team, access was denied.