23 May 2017

While the situation calmed down in Bangassou on Monday, May 15, rivalries between self-defence forces and Ex-Seleka coalition dissidents led to an outbreak of violence in Bria, a town where MSF runs a paediatric programme.

The Ministry of Health, International Medical Corps and MSF teams present in the town launched a contingency plan and, between May 15 and May 18, a total of 44 casualties received treatment in Bria hospital. An MSF surgical team arrived yesterday to assist with treating the wounded in the operating theatre.

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, CAR, Conflict in Bangassou
MSF mobile clinic providing medical care to IDPs. Photo: MSF

Seeking protection from the fighting, thousands of the town’s inhabitants have fled. Families have assembled in the hospital compound in the hope that the belligerents will respect its neutrality and protected status. 15,000 people have taken refuge in displaced persons camp PK3, now so full it can no longer cope. During rainy season and with malaria at its peak, new arrivals find themselves exposed to extremely precarious living conditions, poor hygiene and inadequate access to water. MSF’s teams have increased mobile clinics in the camp so that those who have fled can get medical care.

Meanwhile, the vaccination programme planned for this week has been disrupted. This means that 6,000 children below 5 years in the area continue to be deprived of a major preventive health measure.

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, CAR, Conflict in Bangassou
15,000 people have taken refuge in displaced persons camp PK3, now so full it can no longer cope. Photo: MSF

Added to the fighting are attacks on places of worship, businesses and local government buildings associated to one of the warring parties. These are stirring up ethnic and religious divides in Bria. Those actions are fuelling the cycle of reprisals and attacks against civilians that broke out in the east of the country months ago.

In Bangassou, the situation has calmed down in town yet remains volatile. About 7000 persons are still displaced in the church compound. MSF routine activities have restarted at the hospital to meet the needs of a large caseload of patients, many of them with severe medical conditions, notably due to malaria. MSF teams run mobile clinics to bring medical care to people displaced by the violence. About 250 patients received treatment during the mobile clinics and 250 were taken care of at the hospital between May 16 and May 18.

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, CAR, fighting in Bangassou
Map displaying the locations of fighting and MSF presence in the Central African Republic. 

Last week clashes in Alindao caused displacement of the population towards Bambari. MSF team in the Bambari hospital treated six wounded displaced people. Another team is on its way to evaluate the situation of people displaced in and around Alindao, as well as in Mobaye.

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 MSF’s 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. 

Find out more about MSF's activities in the Central African Republic.

Recent updates

16 May 2017: MSF treats 70 wounded in fighting in Bangassou

13 May 2017: MSF calls for a ceasefire in Bangassou