Heavy automatic weapon fire and grenade explosions in neighborhoods in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui from March 22 to 24 injured scores of people, several of whom were treated by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The violence occurred in the PK5 and PK12 neighborhoods, where thousands of Muslims have been trapped for several weeks. International forces are attempting to protect them from attacks by Anti-balaka militias. MSF teams treated 38 people suffering from injuries caused by bullets, grenades, and machetes. Three people died.
“These renewed attacks show that the violence in Bangui is not over yet, despite the continued presence of international forces,” said Hakim Chkam, MSF’s head of mission in CAR.
An ambulance service was set up to transport patients from PK5 and PK12 to the city’s General Hospital, where MSF is supporting emergency surgical services. However, insecurity is hampering efforts to transport the wounded and provide emergency aid.
A skeleton MSF team continued to provide emergency medical care in Mpoko camp for displaced people, situated at the international airport and close to the PK5 neighborhood. Within 24 hours, the team treated 15 people wounded in the violence and referred three of the most serious cases to General Hospital. However, MSF suspended regular medical consultations for the 60,000 displaced people sheltering in Mpoko camp in desperate conditions.
An MSF team will assess the needs of people who fled the most recent attacks and have sought refuge in the St. Jacques, Bimbo and Carriere neighborhoods of Bangui.
MSF has been working in CAR since 1997. Currently MSF has more than 300 international staff and more than 2,000 Central African staff working in the country. MSF is running seven regular projects (in Batangafo, Carnot, Kabo, Ndélé, Paoua, Bria and Zémio) and eight emergency projects (in Bangui, Berbérati, Bouar, Boguila, Bossangoa, Bangassou and Bocaranga as well as mobile clinics in the northwest of the country). MSF teams are also providing assistance to Central African refugees who have fled to Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Congo-Brazzaville.
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