Africa

Central African Republic 'abandoned' since coup, MSF says

Seleka rebels sitting on a pick-up truck next to machine-guns as a crowd gathers in Bangui on 30 March 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The rebels seized power after an assault on Bangui

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been abandoned to cope with a "humanitarian emergency" since rebels seized power in March, a medical agency says.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said most aid agencies had withdrawn to the capital, citing a lack of security.

As a result, the country's health care system had collapsed, it said.

Seleka rebel group strongman Michel Djotodia captured power in March, ousting President Francois Bozize.

'Crisis on top of crisis'

The MSF said it, along with UN and other international agencies, had been a "victim of robberies and looting" in recent months.

Malnutrition and preventable diseases are rife, with 33% more malaria cases reported this year then in the same period last year, it said in a report.

The coup followed years of unrest, leading to a "crisis on top of a crisis".

"We are facing one of the worst years in terms of the impact of the disease," said Ellen van der Velden, MSF's head of mission in CAR.

The international community had failed to do enough to end the crisis and "the people of CAR have effectively been abandoned just when they most need help", MSF said.

In April, regional states said they would send 2,000 peacekeepers to bolster a 500-strong multinational force that was battling to help the interim government restore stability.

After seizing power, Mr Djotodia pledged to hold elections after an 18-month transitional period.

CAR has an unstable history and is extremely poor, though it has large deposits of minerals including gold and diamonds.

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