Tanya Weinberg 202.640.6647 (O), 202.247.6610 (M)
|Children treated at the Save the Children supported Bouar hospital after grenade attack on a truck convoy of families attempting to escape the violence on Friday 17th January.
BOUAR, Central African Republic (Jan. 18, 2014) – A hospital supported by Save the Children in Bouar, in northwestern Central African Republic is treating children and other civilians attacked on a truck convoy evacuating civilians, the global humanitarian organization said.
The attack, on Friday, targeted a truck convoy transporting Muslims to Bouar near the village of Vakap, around 30km outside Bouar. It left at least 23 people dead and at least 22 injured. Three children were among those killed. The bus was carrying families being evacuated from the area, in a sign of increasing concern among civilians in the Central African Republic about sectarian attacks on both sides.
“It is a sign of the still fraught and highly dangerous situation in the Central African Republic that children and their families have been attacked and killed while trying to evacuate to safety” said Robert Lankenau, Save the Children’s country director in the Central African Republic.
Save the Children is supporting children and families affected by the Central African Republic crisis through mobile health clinics, hospital support, nutrition programs and by establishing Child-Friendly Spaces, which give children a safe place to play and get much-needed emotional support.
“While we welcomed the decision in December to deploy a larger African Union and French force with a stronger civilian protection mandate, it’s clear that this protection is not reaching children in more remote areas,” Lankenau said. “We’re continuing to call for this UN-mandated force to patrol the remotest regions where so much of the violence goes unseen, with more troops deployed if necessary. It’s crucial for the children of the Central African Republic that the world works to protect them.’
The hospital in Bouar has treated both Muslim and Christian civilians who have been victims of the wave of violence which has swept across the country since late last year. Save the Children has previously called for more French and African Union peacekeepers to patrol outside the capital Bangui in rural areas like Vakap. This latest attack underscores the need for greater security across the Central African Republic and comes ahead of an EU conference in Brussels on Monday where commitments of funds and peace-keeping forces are expected to be made.
For more information, go to www.savethechildren.org/car.
Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.