Medical charity halts services in CAR town

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has suspended operations in Zemio town in the Haut-Mbomou prefecture of the south-eastern Central African Republic over insecurity.

MSF said made the announcement in a statement after armed men shot and killed a baby in a local hospital hosting thousands of people displaced by violence.

The statement explained that two armed men broke into the Zemio hospital on Tuesday and threatened members of a family before opening fire, shooting the baby in the head and killing her instantly.

Recent clashes

“This child was shot in her mother’s arms, and in a medical facility: the two places where a child should be safest. The callousness of this attack highlights both the indiscriminate nature and disturbing escalation in violence in CAR against civilians,” MSF's head of mission in CAR, Ms Mia Hejdenberg, said.

“It has also forced the withdrawal of MSF’s staff from Zemio, leaving thousands without adequate access to healthcare in the region,” Ms Hejdenberg added.

More than 20,000 people have been displaced in Zemio, with many wounded and unable to reach medical care following recent clashes according to MSF.

Seized power

It said about 7,000 internally displaced people had sought refuge in the local hospital in the past two weeks following an escalation of fighting in the southeastern region of CAR.

CAR has been in turmoil since rebels seized power in March 2013, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee to Cameroon.

Armed people from rival groups then resorted to trawling many areas looting, killing, burning crops and homes.

Many villages were rendered empty, with people either hiding in fields or in the bush.

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