December 17, 2013 (BANGUI) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said violence in the beleaguered Central Africa Republic(CAR) capital, Bangui, has displaced as many as 210,000 in the last two weeks.
“UN refugee agency staff in the Central African Republic believe that some 210,000 people have been forcibly displaced by violence in the last two weeks in the embattled capital, Bangui”, UNHCR, said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.
CAR plunged into chaos in March this year when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled the government of president Francois Bozize.
In August, UN officials warned that the country risked becoming a security threat in the Great Lakes region.
UNHCR said hundreds had fled by boat into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a bid to escape the latest violence.
“To escape the fighting and insecurity, hundreds of people fled over the weekend by boat across the Oubangui River to Zongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, even though the border is officially closed and they risked being shot at”, said UNHCR.
The agency says 5,600 people have been displaced in the last two weeks since renewed fighting broke out between militias opposed to the former Seleka rebels who took over power in March.
According to the UN, the conflict in CAR has displaced more than 710,000 and forced 75,000 into exile since it began a year ago. With fighting raging on in the country, humanitarian organisations say the security situation continues to worsen, particularly for civilians displaced by fighting.