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IOM Condemns Attack on IDPs and Continuing Violence in Bangui

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, May 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The situation in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) took a turn for the worse on Wednesday: unconfirmed reports put at 15 the number of people killed and dozens wounded in an attack on displaced persons taking shelter at Notre Dame de Fatima Church.

Director General of IOM, Ambassador William Lacy Swing said, “I was shocked to learn of the senseless attack on civilians at Notre Dame de Fatima Church; these people were already displaced and have suffered so much. I condemn the attack in the strongest terms and the continued violence that has ensued. I extend heartfelt sympathies to the families of those who were killed.

“These incidents prolong the cycle of violence and displacement, which needs to stop so people can finally return to their homes. IOM will continue to support the Government of the Central African Republic in its efforts to put the country on a path toward peace and development. I call on all parties to conflict to put down their arms and focus on rebuilding CAR."

The violence in CAR spread on Thursday: numerous roadblocks and incidents around Bangui interrupted commerce and prevented the provision of humanitarian services. Streets were deserted except for groups of youths manning roadblocks. Shooting and explosions were frequently heard around the city.

“This is the worst attack in Bangui since the wide-scale outbreak of violence in December 2013. We are very concerned for the population of Bangui and for our colleagues who live in the affected neighbourhoods,” said International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission Giuseppe Loprete.

IOM provides displacement tracking, distribution of non-food relief items, community stabilization activities, and camp management in the cities of Bangui, Boda, Kabo, and Moyen-Sido. IOM health clinics provide more than 300 consultancies per week to displaced persons in both Bangui and Boda.

Displacement figures in Bangui have decreased from almost 500,000 in December to approximately 132,000 in late May. This latest figure is expected to increase in response to recent violence.