More humanitarian workers killed as security situation worsens
Six humanitarian workers murdered
In late February 2018, six humanitarian workers in the field of education were murdered in a northwestern are of the Central African Republic. The victims included one UNICEF consultant, two Ministry of Education officials and three members of Bangui Without Borders, a NGO partner of UNICEF. All of them were en route to Markounda where they were due to train teachers serving a refugee population in the area, which is controlled by a number of militia groups and outside the control of the central government.
The perpetrators, who remain unknown, attacked the humanitarian workers in broad daylight on 25th February. In a statement following the incident, UNICEF declared that:
“We strongly condemn this senseless act against aid workers who were there to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations".
#CAR - outrageous attack against education workers, 6 killed. 1.3 mill children in #CAR need humanitarian assistance - attacking aid workers denies children life-saving assistance @UNICEF_CAR @MariePierre_P @UNICEF #NOTATARGET #ChildrenUnderAttack https://t.co/khbd3JUD5Q— Kieran Dwyer (@KieranADwyer) February 28, 2018
A spokesperson for the Central African Republic's government also condemned the murders. Two rival armed groups - Ahamat Bahar's National Movement for the Liberation of the Central African Republic and Armel Sayo's Revolution and Justice Group - are currently active in this area. In recent months, more than 7,000 displaced people have fled violence to Markounda. Temporary schools have been created to accommodate 2,000 children and the UNICEF team had just been appointed to teach in these temporary schools.
The murders come after a grim year for aid workers. In 2017, at least 13 similar attacks attributed to armed groups operating in the country's provinces took place. As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, humanitarian organisations have been sounding the alarm about the deteriorating security situation for NGOs in many parts of the country.
International NGO suspended for forgery
A news report from 17th February 2018 indicated that the government had suspended cooperation with NGO Rescue Team International, which had reportedly been working in the Central African Republic since 2016. The NGO, which had access to thousands of dollars of humanitarian funds for activities in the centre of the country in Grimari, was accused by the government of forgery related to projects meant t benefit rural communities. According to reports, investigations revealed that staff had compromising documents related to the accusations. At the time of writing, there appeared to have been no public reaction from Rescue Team International and the CIVICUS Monitor is unaware of any statement made by the NGO in connection with these allegations.