Central African Republic: ICRC appeals for civilians to be spared
BANGUI, Central African Republic, March 25, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- With fighting in the capital, Bangui, growing heavier over the past 24 hours, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has appealed to those engaged in the hostilities to spare the civilian population, any combatants no longer taking part in the fighting, injured people, and all medical facilities.
"We have observed scenes of looting," said Georgios Georgantas, head of the ICRC delegation in the Central African Republic. "We are calling on all parties to the conflict to spare civilians, combatants no longer taking part, medical facilities and Red Cross personnel."
Since the previous day, many people injured by the fighting had been brought to the various hospitals around the city, Georgantas said. Medical facilities were finding it difficult to cope with the influx, while frequent power failures were affecting their ability to provide care, with potentially fatal consequences for those in need of treatment. The ICRC was appealing for first-aid workers and medical staff to be permitted access to the injured and allowed to carry out their work without fearing for their own lives.
"We remind all parties to the conflict of their obligation to spare civilians and to distinguish between military and civilian objects."
First-aid workers from the Central African Red Cross have brought a number of injured people to hospital. However, poor security conditions are preventing ICRC staff from going about their work in the city. The organization hopes to soon be able to start assessing needs, in close conjunction with the Central African Red Cross.