CAR: MSF calls for a ceasefire in Bangassou to allow for the deployment of urgent medical aid

Sunday, May 14, 2017 — Bangassou/Bangui, Central African Republic

Following intense fighting that broke out yesterday morning in Bangassou (Mbomou Province), Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is calling on all parties to agree to a ceasefire in order to access wounded people in urgent need of life-saving medical care.

“In the space of a few hours, MSF treated 21 wounded people in Bangassou hospital. Our teams are aware of further wounded elsewhere in the city who are under fire and are therefore unable to reach medical care. At the moment, however, it is impossible to have an idea of the exact number as the intensity of the fighting means it is impossible to move around the city centre. We are asking all parties currently engaged in open fighting in Bangassou to agree to a ceasefire and allow us to collect the wounded and offer a minimum of humanitarian assistance to the population,” says René Colgo, MSF’s deputy head of mission currently working in Bangassou’s hospital.

In recent days, some residents of Bangassou have fled the city but others are trapped in their homes or have sought refuge in places that they hope can offer some protection against the violence.

“All wounded have the right to access medical care. Civilians should not be targeted, and all warring parties have a duty to respect the safety of medical facilities such as hospitals, ambulances and their staff,” says René Colgo.

Conflict in the eastern part of the Central African Republic has intensified in recent months, reaching what was previously the relatively stable province of Mbomou in March. On Monday 8 May, MSF’s teams in Bangassou hospital treated 12 people who had been wounded in clashes between UN forces and an armed group, 25 kilometres from the city.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural or man-made disasters. In addition to its operations in over a dozen locations in the Central African Republic, it has been providing support to Bangassou hospital since 2014 as well as to the health centres of Yongofongo, Mbalazine and Niakari where it offers access to vital medical care for 206,000 inhabitants of Mbomou province. From January to March 2017, MSF treated almost 2,000 people in the Bangassou hospital. 

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Florent Bakozo survives on rat hunting in Ministre Maurice Meto's villa, abandonned upon Seleka's arrival. Photographer: Colin Delfosse/Ouf of Focus
Thérèse Erede, 45, wounded by gunfire. Bambari's hospital. Photographer: Colin Delfosse/Ouf of Focus
Gobolo neighbourhood' health centre. Because Fulanis (Peuhls) can't leave the neighbourhood, MSF opened a specific centre to attend inhabitants. Photographer: Colin Delfosse/Ouf of Focus
Henri Passendro, 84, chief of Nasima village, left Nasima on 6 Decembre 2016 with his family to find shelter at Aviation IDP camp. “The were infighting between UPC and FPRC near the village, a rumour said they were burning villages, so we fled. My son went back later to see what was left. All had been burned down. I would like to go back to my village, but I have no money left to pay transportation”. His son provides for Henri’s survival. Photographer: Colin Delfosse/Ouf of Focus
Michel, 38,. He was shot on 21 November during the Gobolo neighbourhood attack. . He is now stuck in the enclaved neighbourhood of Bria that he can’t leave. Photographer: Colin Delfosse/Ouf of Focus