More than 100 heavy-duty trucks carrying humanitarian assistance materials to the Central African Republic have been blocked in Cameroon due to attacks by armed rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).
“All the food of the World Food Programme (WFP), all the drugs of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), all the supplies of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been completely blocked, ” said Denise Brown, the Assistant Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the Central African Republic.
“The blockage of this road really has an important impact on the humanitarian situation,” the UN official added, revealing that because of the blockage, about 1.9 million persons needing humanitarian assistance are finding it difficult to receive daily food rations.
Brown recalled that the last major attack by Central African Republic rebel groups was that of Jan.13, 2021 on Bangui the capital, which was stopped by forces of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the national army.
“There has however been a drop in the number of attacks as compared to mid-December last year, ” she said.
Brown revealed that the town of Bangassou is now completely under the control of the Central African Republic army and the Blue Helmets of MINUSCA.
This has enabled humanitarian workers to continue their activities of assistance to persons displaced by the conflict.
The main challenge to MINUSCA now is to secure the principal route through which all imported goods and humanitarian aid passes by land from Cameroon.
On Jan.18, a convoy was attacked on the road, which was the first of such attacks since the month of Dec.2020.
“On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the first convoy succeeded in carrying humanitarian aid by passing through the most difficult sections of the road,” Brown said.
“We are confident that this would continue, given the fact that this brings the necessary assistance for the population affected by the blockage of the route.”
Within the month of Jan. 2021, there were 66 incidents targeting humanitarian operations in the Central African Republic.
“This figure is higher than in all other months of the previous year. A majority of this criminality is created by the armed groups,” the UN official revealed.
It is worth noting here that more than 180 non-governmental organisations currently operate in the Central African Republic with more than 12,000 local and international workers.
The conflict in the Central African Republic has led to the displacement of 200,000 persons, 100,000 of whom have fled to neighbouring countries while 100,000 are internally displaced.