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14 Apr 14 15 Apr 14

CAR: Thousands flee fighting in Boguila

Nearly 7,000 people have fled into the bush after fighting erupted in Boguila on 11th April. The remaining people sheltered overnight at the hospital where MSF works.

On 11th April fighting erupted between international armed forces and local armed groups after a convoy accompanied by International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) travelled through the town of Boguila in northern Central African Republic (CAR). 

Witnessing violence

The Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team working in Boguila hospital heard a large explosion and sustained gunfire, and then saw people fleeing the town.

“We witnessed the majority of the population fleeing in panic to the bush. We opened our compound to some 30 to 40 women and children who spent the night with us,” said Stefano Argenziano, MSF Head of Mission in CAR.

The international forces were escorting a convoy of around 20 trucks, evacuating the last remaining 540 Muslims in Bossangoa, northern CAR, to Gore in southern Chad.

MSF teams received three wounded patients in Boguila and Paoua hospitals, following the clashes which erupted on Friday night and continued until Saturday, 12th April.

“We are worried that the gun battle may have resulted in more people being injured,” added Argenziano. “For the moment no one can approach the battle area to evacuate potential wounded”. 

Unstable area

Since the coup d’état in March 2013, Boguila has been unstable with increasing tensions and violence. In August 2013, a peak of violence already provoked a massive population displacement in the area.

In December 2013, Muslims fleeing violence from Nana Bakassa sought refuge with host families in Boguila before moving further north.

“The recurrent clashes between armed groups force people to flee into the bush on a regular basis thus exacerbating their vulnerability and reducing their access to medical care.

“With the approaching rainy season the displaced will be particularly exposed to malaria which remains the first causes of mortality in the country” said Argenziano.

The remaining 540 Muslims in Bossangoa pack up their belongings at their refuge of Ecole Liberte. On Friday they were evacuated by a convoy of trucks to safety in Gore, Chad © Ton Koene

 

MSF in Boguila

Since 2006, MSF manages a 115 bed hospital in Boguila, dispensing primary and secondary health care for an estimated population of 45,000.

The MSF teams also support 10 health posts around, mainly treating malaria and referring the severe cases to the hospital.

Each month, MSF provides between 9,000 and 13,000 general consultations and treats between 5,000 to 10,000 people for malaria.

MSF in CAR

MSF has been working in CAR since 1997. Currently MSF has more than 300 international staff and more than 2,000 Central African staff working in the country.

MSF is running seven regular projects (in Batangafo, Carnot, Kabo, Ndélé, Paoua, Bria and Zémio) and eight emergency projects (in Bangui, Berbérati, Bouar, Boguila, Bossangoa, Bangassou and Bocaranga as well as mobile clinics in the northwest of the country).

MSF teams are also providing assistance to Central African refugees who have fled to Chad, Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Find out more about MSF's work in CAR