Central African Republic death toll higher

2014-07-16 21:59
People carry cans on their heads as they walk in the village of Gaga, in the western part of the Central African Republic where many inhabitants work in a gold mine. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

People carry cans on their heads as they walk in the village of Gaga, in the western part of the Central African Republic where many inhabitants work in a gold mine. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar - Fighting in Central African Republic may have claimed more lives than previously thought because many Muslim victims were never taken to state hospitals and families buried their dead at home because of security fears, according to aid workers.

Violence spiralled in the former French colony after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted the government of President Francois Bozize in March 2013 and Seleka leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president of the majority Christian country.

Medical charity MSF said on Wednesday a survey of nearly 33 000 Central African refugees in neighbouring Chad had shown 8% questioned had lost at least one member of their family.

Refugees reported 2 599 deaths between November 2013 and April 2014, the report said. A third of 3 449 families had lost at least one member, whilst a quarter had lost at least two.

Previous estimates of the death toll in the landlocked country based on the number of bodies collected by Red Cross workers had been in the region of 1 000 to 2 000 dead, mostly during a flare-up in fighting in December and January.

Seleka's rule was marked by a string of rights abuses, which spawned a Christian militia known as the 'anti-balaka'.

Djotodia stepped down in January under intense international pressure and violence has continued under the weak interim government despite the presence of about 6 000 African Union peacekeepers and 2 000 French troops.

The United Nations says that around 1 million people have been forced to abandon their homes in search of security - nearly a quarter of the population. Some 390 000 people have fled Central African Republic as refugees.

"Nobody really knows the death toll in CAR, but now at last we have some figures," said Yann Lelevrier, MSF regional operational representative. "The report raises the point that even if we have had a lot of progress, the violence is still worrying."

Giovanni Cassani, regional emergency response co-ordinator for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said many people who had lost family members had simply buried them near their homes because of security fears.

"Others in the Muslim community take their dead straight to the mosque where they are read prayers by the imam and then buried nearby. The red cross and state hospitals will have no record of them," Cassani said.

Gaston Mackouzangba, spokesperson for the Central African Republic's transitional government, said that the security situation in the capital Bangui had improved but violence in the provinces was continuing, particularly around the central town of Bambari.

Read more on:    msf  |  iom  |  central african republic  |  central africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.