Central African Republic: MSF staff member killed in shooting near Bambari

A road by the Élevage internally displaced people’s site on the outskirts of Bambari. This area is home to more than 15,000 people.
Central African Republic 2020 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif
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NEW YORK/BANGUI, DECEMBER 30, 2020—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces the killing of one of its medical staff following a shooting incident on December 28 on a public transport truck in the city of Grimari in Ouaka prefecture, Central African Republic (CAR). This incident, which resulted in several deaths and injuries, comes amid increased tension and violence following the country’s national election on December 27.

“This armed incident in Grimari and the killing of our colleague is another clear illustration of the human toll of recurring violence in CAR,” said Marcella Kraay, MSF deputy head of mission in CAR. “We are shocked and profoundly saddened by the passing of our colleague and offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends.”

The MSF staff member, who was off-duty at the time, was severely wounded in the incident while taking public transportation on his way from Bambari to Bangui when gunfire suddenly erupted. All people who were injured were taken to a nearby hospital in Grimari to receive urgent lifesaving medical care. MSF dispatched a medical team immediately from Bambari to Grimari to provide timely medical assistance and referred five seriously-injured patients, including the MSF staff member, to the hospital that MSF supports in nearby Bambari town.

This attack in Grimari occurred during a new wave of violence linked to the national election that has hit several regions of CAR since mid-December—particularly in the western region of the country. It illustrates, once again, the high price people pay for the perpetual cycle of violence in CAR. Between December 20 and 30 alone MSF teams have treated more than 50 war-wounded in need of surgical care in Bossangoa, 24 people in Bangui, and at least a dozen in Bambari.

“Once again, civilians are caught in the crossfire of a deadly conflict and are victims of an endless cycle of violence,” Kraay said. In addition to the direct consequences, the upsurge in violence is also limiting access to essential medical care in a country plagued by a state of chronic medical emergency.

The body of the MSF staff member, whose identity will not be disclosed out of respect for his privacy, has been transported and handed over to his family in Bangui.