C.A.R: Displacement reaches 120,000, as one UN peacekeeper dies
Central Africans fearing electoral violence are fleeing to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. /VCG

Central Africans fearing electoral violence are fleeing to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. /VCG

"Worsening" election violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced 120,000 people from their homes, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday, as the UN Secretary-General also condemned another attack by combatants on a UN convoy, which left a peacekeeper from Burundi dead, and two others wounded.

In an appeal for an immediate end to all bloodshed - which has included deadly clashes with UN peacekeepers and Friday's attack in Ouaka prefecture -UNHCR also said that mass displacement has continued outside the country since the 27 December Presidential poll, reversing a trend of people returning to CAR in recent years. 

"What is clear is the situation has evolved, it has worsened, we have seen that the number of refugees has doubled in just one week", said spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov, during a scheduled press briefing in Geneva. 

Despite attempts by rebel groups to obstruct presidential and legislative elections, on 27 December, nearly two million Central Africans successfully cast their votes. 

UNHCR and partners in CAR "are gathering reports of abuses by armed groups, including of sexual violence, attacks on voters and pillaging", Mr. Cheshirkov continued, underscoring the agency's call "for an immediate return of all parties to meaningful dialogue and progress towards peace".

"We were reporting 30,000 refugees last Friday, today it's already 60,000, and much of that is the increase we've seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This is coming with reports of intensified violence, people are being forced to move from their home and the situation has not calmed down for the moment." 

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned Friday's attack by the so-called Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) armed group, on a convoy of the UN Stabilization Mission in CAR in Grimari, Ouaka prefecture. A peacekeeper from Burundi was killed and two others wounded.  

"The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the victim, and to the people and Government of Burundi. He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured peacekeepers", said the UN Spokesperson, in a statement.

(With input from the United Nations)

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