International Committee of the Red Cross
GENEVA, Switzerland, January 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)
Fresh intercommunal violence has flared in western and north-western parts of the Central African Republic. Since Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Central African Red Cross Society have been administering first aid and have taken 25 seriously injured people to hospital in the capital, Bangui.
Much of the population, in danger of reprisals and with no-one to protect them, have fled their homes and are hiding in the bush. The ICRC is extremely concerned about their welfare. “The ICRC calls on the authorities and on the international armed forces present in the country to take immediate action to end the intercommunal violence,” said Georgios Georgantas, head of the organization’s delegation in the Central African Republic. “We also call on all those who have armed themselves to respect human life and dignity and to facilitate both Red Cross access to the victims and its activities to assist them.”
In the past 48 hours, Red Cross staff and volunteers have buried some 50 bodies discovered in the area around Bossembélé, Boyali and Boali, in the north-west of the country.
“Our priorities are first aid for the injured at the scene of the violence, handling the dead with dignity, and boosting the ability of our colleagues from the Central African Red Cross to take action,” explained Bonaventure Bawirutwabo, the ICRC’s medical coordinator in the country. An ICRC surgical team arrived on 3 January and has been hard at work ever since at Bangui’s Community Hospital, where the most serious cases are taken. The organization is also furnishing the hospital with medicines and other supplies and training local surgical staff in the specialized procedures needed to treat gunshot wounds and other weapon-caused injuries.
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