Tens of thousands of people have fled the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) with the Gado Refugee camp in Cameroon registering about 3,000 refugees.
About 60,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries over the last few weeks since six powerful rebel groups launched an offensive a few months ago to try and prevent the re-election of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.
Touadera, 63, has struggled to wrest control of vast swathes of the country from armed militias since first winning power in 2016, three years after former President Francois Bozize was ousted by another rebellion.
The presidential election went ahead despite an offensive by rebel groups who tried to disrupt the vote after Bozize’s candidacy was rejected by the country’s highest court.
Touadera won five more years in power by securing more than 53% of votes in the December 27 election that was marred by violence.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number means a two-fold rise in just one week.
The arrival of those rebels was a blow, we fled with my husband in the hope of finding some peace, said Ihindou Melina, a refugee from the CAR.
Violence has escalated recently, with security forces on Wednesday repelling rebels trying to seize the capital Bangui, after intense fighting on the city’s outskirts.
At least one Rwandan peacekeeper has been killed and another injured, said the United Nations.
On Friday, at least one peacekeeper was killed and another two were injured during an attack against the UN soldiers in Grimari, a city located 200km from the capital, the United Nations Mission in the country said in a statement.
“So far we have registered nearly 3,000 people who are seeking refuge in Cameroon from the Central African Republic. These people, most of them, are women under the age of 50, they have come with children,” said Helen Ngoh Ada, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Cameroon.
The UN refugee agency says Those who arrive at sites for the displaced have witnessed traumatic scenes of violence and that malnutrition rates have risen to serious levels.
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