Central African Republic: Dozens Killed and Injured in Bangui Violence

Spencer Platt

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC—Violent armed clashes in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital of Bangui early this morning caused dozens of casualties, including numerous deaths. Teams from the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are working in city hospitals treating the wounded, many of whom sustained grievous injuries.

Shootings and explosions between armed groups in a number of areas in Bangui have left bodies in the city’s streets, according to Thomas Curbillon, MSF head of mission in CAR. MSF staff are working at the city’s Hôpital Communautaire and Hôpital de l’Amitié to reinforce medical teams and assist with the influx of wounded. People with grave wounds have been referred to Hôpital Communautaire.

"At mid-day, the fighting with heavy artillery seemed to have trailed off, but we are still hearing gunshots every so often,” said Curbillon. “For the time being, the hospitals are operational and there is electricity and running water. But we’re watching how the situation develops and we’ll adapt our activities if necessary.”

Watch: MSF CAR Webcast (Dec. 4, 2013)

At Hôpital Communautaire, where 16 MSF medical personnel are working in the emergency room, operating theaters, and medical wards, 90 wounded people have been treated, of whom approximately 70 were seriously injured. Seven patients went straight to surgery. Most people suffered gunshot, machete, or knife wounds. Fifty corpses were taken directly to the hospital morgue.

MSF is also prepared to donate surgical materials, medicines, fuel, and water to other health centers and hospitals in the city.

MSF has been working in CAR since 1997, and now runs seven regular projects in Batangafo, Boguila, Carnot, Kabo, Ndéle, Paoua, and Zémio, and three emergency projects in Bossangoa, Bouca, and Bria. A mobile emergency team provides care to Bouar, Mbaiki, and Yaloké zones, and MSF plans to begin activities in Bangassou and Ouango. In total, MSF is providing free medical care to approximately 400,000 people in CAR. More than 100 international and 1,100 local staff work in seven hospitals, two health centers, and 40 health posts across the country.  

KABO, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - DECEMBER 17: People gather at a hospital December 17, 2007 in Kabo in the northern Central African Republic. Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the world¿s poorest and most neglected countries with an average life expectancy of 39 years. Decades of fighting various rebel factions in the north of the country have resulted in hundreds of deaths and over 200,000 internally displaced people. Outside of the capital Bangui there is no electricity or paved roads and banditry is extensive. ....In 2007, MSF supported health structures and provided primary and secondary health care in and around Kabo, Batangafo, Paoua, Kaga Bandoro, Markounda, and Boguila in the northwest, and Birao and Gordil in the northeast. In the first eight months of the year, more than 100,000 consultations were carried out and tens of thousands of people-many of them children under five years of age-were treated for malaria and other infectious diseases often associated with poor living conditions...
Spencer Platt