Cordaid office closed after rebel coup

26 mar 2013 by Cordaid |
Photo: AFP

Following a rebel coup, four Cordaid employees have been evacuated from Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic.

On Saturday 23 March rebels entered Bangui in the Central African Republic and since then claim to be in complete control. President François Bozizé has fled to Congo (DRC) and rebel leader Michel Djotodia has declared himself the new president of the Central African Republic.

Cordaid projects

In the east and west of the country Cordaid is currently carrying out Performance Based Financing projects. In the context of these projects, schools and healthcare clinics that were damaged as a result of earlier armed conflicts are being repaired. Current developments could prove to be disastrous for these projects and their progress is now extremely uncertain.

According to various sources widespread looting is taking place. As much equipment as possible has been moved to safety, but despite these measures things have also been stolen from the Cordaid office, including emergency generators and cars. The Cordaid office will remain closed for the time being. The house of an evacuated Cordaid employee was also looted.

A month earlier the rebels stole a car and other valuable items from Cordaid in the city of Mobaye. Cordaid used these items in the context of healthcare programs being carried out in the east of the country.

As I wait to be evacuated from the airport I see President Bozizé leave by helicopter.

Evacuated Cordaid employee

Great uncertainty about the consequences

The rebels took up arms on 10 December 2012, to force the hitherto not-respected terms of various peace agreements between the rebels and the government. It took the rebels just a few weeks to overrun most of the country, after which they demanded that President François Bozizé step down. A peace agreement was reached in January, but this was short lived.  

Energy and water supplies have been closed down in the capital and this is causing major problems for hospitals, due to the influx of large numbers of casualties resulting from the fighting. Mobile phones are also proving impossible to recharge, which is making communication with and in the capital extremely difficult.

As was the case a few months ago, a large group of residents have fled to avoid the fighting. The UN Security Council has called an emergency sitting. During the fighting in Central Africa 13 South African soldiers, who were part of an African peacekeeping force, also died.

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