U.N. agencies are warning of a resurgence in widespread ethnic and religious fighting in Central African Republic, following the recent outbreak of fighting which has left dozens dead and scores injured in the capital, Bangui.
The United Nations reports clashes and reprisal attacks involving rival militias since Saturday have killed at least 37 people and injured more than 100 others in Central African Republic.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is strongly condemning the violence that was triggered by the murder Saturday of a young Muslim man in Bangui. He also is expressing deep concern over the escape of more than 500 prisoners Monday from Bangui’s main prison, noting the threat to civilians.
Meanwhile U.N. troops have been deployed to restore order in the city.
U.N. refugee agency spokesman Leo Dobbs said the situation remains tense with shooting in central Bangui.
“We fear that the violence that we are seeing in Bangui is a return to the dark days of late 2013 and 2014 when thousands were killed, and tens of thousands had to flee their homes,” said Dobbs. “We are particularly concerned about getting access to the thousands of people who have fled their homes since Saturday.”
Presidential elections are scheduled for October 18, though it is widely expected they will be postponed.
Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza cut short her trip to the U.N. General Assembly in New York so she could return to Bangui to deal with this crisis.
The UNHCR estimates at least 27,400 people have been displaced.
U.N. agencies say people displaced by the violence are in urgent need of basic aid. Several international organizations including the UNHCR (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) and IOM (International Organization for Migration) have had their compounds looted.