To mark the 12 months of extreme and unacceptable violence that has gripped the Central African Republic (CAR) since a coup d’état last March, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has brought together testimonies from its teams and patients in a report: ‘One year of escalating violence’.
Our teams on the ground – which are 2,300 strong – speak out about the atrocities that have taken place in the CAR over the past year. These include massacres, killings, torture and displacements which have shocked even our most hardened and experienced colleagues. The report also features harrowing testimonies from people in CAR, which brings to life the horrific violence that has become a daily reality in the country.
“What is happening in the CAR is absolutely shocking. We are used to operating in very violent situations but in this case even our most hardened members have rarely seen such levels of violence,” says Marie-Noëlle Rodrigue, the head of MSF operations, on her return from the CAR.
Twelve months ago, on 24 March 2013, armed members of the former Séléka rebel coalition seized Bangui, the capital of the Central African Capital (CAR). Since then, this already battered and underdeveloped country has been going through a major political and military crisis that has had tragic and unprecedented implications for the entire population.
This major crisis has broken out against the background of the extremely fragile health situation in the country for several years now. CAR’s health indicators are amongst the lowest in the world.
Huge numbers of the minority Muslim population have been forced into exile in neighbouring countries in recent months. While they are now bearing the brunt of the instability, no one in the country has been left unscathed.
“The humanitarian and medical situation was already horrendous before the coup d’état but it has been getting even worse over the past 12 months. We know the crisis in the CAR is set to continue for some time. However, on the ground, today, there are still not enough of us to address the many urgent needs.” stresses Marie-Noëlle Rodrigue.
Since the escalation of the conflict last December, MSF has treated 4,000 injured people in the CAR. It has over 2,200 people involved in 16 projects throughout the country. To complement its regular health care initiatives in the capital Bangui and in the rest of the country, teams have also been dispatched to Chad, Cameroon and the DRC, where nearly 300,000 Central Africans have fled.