Crisis Grows in Central African Republic

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Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (left) in Bamako, Mali, in November 2013 with Abdoulaye Bathily, who has been appointed to head the UN regional office in Central Africa. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (left) in Bamako, Mali, in November 2013 with Abdoulaye Bathily, who has been appointed to head the UN regional office in Central Africa. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

UN Hopes to Solve Crisis

NEW YORK – International News – At least two people were killed and six others injured in the Central African Republic (CAR) after an attack on an 18-truck humanitarian convoy relocating 1,300 Muslims to safety in the country’s north, a spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency today confirmed, renewing calls for protection of displaced people.

“The convoy, heading for Kabo and Moyen in the north, was hit by a grenade believed to have been thrown by anti-balaka militiamen,” UNHCR spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune told journalists in Geneva, referring to yesterday’s attack believed to have been carried out by the mostly Christian armed group.

The anti-balaka, which translates as “machete proof,” are fighting mostly Muslim Séléka rebels who led a 2012 coup. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and 2.2 million are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

“UNHCR condemns the attack and offers its condolences to the victims’ families. It underscores the need to provide physical protection to displaced communities at risk,” said Ms. Lejeune.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal as the head of the United Nations political office tasked with helping to consolidate peace and prevent conflict in the Central African region.

Mr. Bathily, who brings to this position many years of political, diplomatic and academic experience with his national Government, academic institutions and more recently with the UN system, will serve both as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Central Africa and the head of the UN regional office, known as UNOCA.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (left) in Bamako, Mali, in November 2013 with Abdoulaye Bathily, who has been appointed to head the UN regional office in Central Africa. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (left) in Bamako, Mali, in November 2013 with Abdoulaye Bathily, who has been appointed to head the UN regional office in Central Africa. Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

He succeeds Abou Moussa of Chad, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for “his leadership and important accomplishments” during his tenure at UNOCA, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Most recently, Mr. Bathily served as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) since July 2013.

Headquartered in Libreville, Gabon, UNOCA has been working since March 2011 to support the efforts of Central African nations to consolidate peace and prevent conflict, as well as to tackle cross-border challenges such as arms trafficking and organized crime.

It works closely with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), which comprises Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.