Conflict in CAR: “The Other People in the House Were Shot Dead"

Lali Cambra/MSF

Anga is a resident of Alindao, Central African Republic (CAR), the city where he has lived all his life. He is a 32-year-old Christian who worked in a slaughterhouse. During the fighting that convulsed Alindao in early May, a fighter tried to cut Anga's throat, but, miraculously, he survived. On May 11, 2017, he was transferred to the hospital in Bambari, a six-hour drive from Alindao, where a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team cared for him. Here, he tells his story in his own words.

"It was 7:00 a.m. I was entering the slaughterhouse, where I work, when I heard several shots. After perceiving that they hadn’t stopped after a short while, I left the meat there and fled to the house of a Banda Christian friend [Banda is the largest ethnic group on that side of the city]. I thought I would take shelter there until the shots stopped, but soon the Muslims who supported the Fulani [a Muslim ethnic group] started knocking on the Bandas’ doors. They went door to door. I saw that first they told the women and children to leave--to flee into the forest--and then they came in for the men. 

When they arrived at the house where I was with several other men, they opened the door, and two men started firing. I ducked down and a bullet grazed my head. The other people in the house were shot dead. There were twelve attackers in total, but only two wore military clothes. I know them all very well. When I was lying on the ground, protecting myself from the bullets, a man approached me, lifted my head up, and slit my throat with a knife. I thought I was dead, but it seems that he didn’t reach a part of my throat, and I kept breathing.

They left after the attack but came back later, continued shooting, and searched the pockets of the corpses, including mine. I pretended to be dead. I had lost a lot of blood. My eyes were closed, but when they left, I opened them and saw that they were setting the house on fire. Then I managed to get up and fled to the forest, leaving the corpses of my friends in that house.

I spent 48 hours in the forest with other people who had escaped until I was brave enough to try getting to the Catholic church in Alindao, where the refugee Christian population was. The International Red Cross arrived there to transport the most serious of us to the hospital of Bambari.

Almost every member of my family fled in 2013 to Bria, Bangui, or Bangassou, but my wife and my four small daughters are still in Alindao. I know that MINUSCA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic] arrived days after the attacks to protect the refugees in the Catholic church, but when I recover, I want to go back to Alindao to bring my family here to Bambari.

Alindao had not experienced this type of attack since the 2014 crisis, yet it is not much of a surprise. The situation had destabilized since the arrival of the Fulani due to the clashes with the Muslim authorities."

MSF helps to transfer patients from the mission to the hospital when needed.
Lali Cambra/MSF