CAR airport 2The head of United Nations Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, has been briefing the UN Security Council on the dire situation in the Central Africa Republic.

The US ambassador the UN, Samantha Power, posted this tweet, summing up what Amos had said.

US CAR Briefing Tweet

These ‘targeted killings’ have been confirmed by aid agencies I have spoken to in Bangui. They say that the worst violence took place between the 5th and 7th of December, with mainly Muslim Seleka rebels moving through neighbourhoods, with Christian groups carrying our revenge attacks. The Red Cross says 586 bodies were collected.

Chadian soldiers posing as peacekeepers

Of particular concern is the role of Chadian soldiers with the Central African peacekeeping force, FOMAC. Many people in the Central African Republic regard them as little more than adjuncts to Seleka.The Chadians went into neighbourhoods with Seleka, killing anyone who stood in their way, and seeking young men in particular.

The presence of the Chadian troops is deeply resented and has led to a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children, has just returned from the CAR. He describes the country as “teetering on the brink of catastrophe.”

Other aid workers agree.

CAR airport 3Although the French and United Nations troops now on the ground are beginning to regain some measure of control in the capital, Bangui, the situation in the rest of the country is only marginally improved.

Sylvain Groult, the MSF head of mission in Bangui, said he is “extremely concerned by the violence and about the hundreds of thousands who are outside Bangui.” He described people are dying of simple diseases like malaria and diarrhoea.

Even in Bangui, some 45,000 people are sheltering around the airport, too frightened to go to their homes. MSF reports that 32 children have been born in a make-shift clinic that has been established on the edge of the airport.