Heavily armed gunmen attacked the city of Bambari on the morning of Tuesday, May 15 (local time). The mayor of Bambari has claimed that the assailants are members of the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) rebel group. At least six people were killed and hundreds of other residents fled the area during the shooting. Local media sources reported that three non-governmental organization (NGO) offices and a warehouse were also looted. According to the mayor, the militants attacked his office and police and radio stations in retaliation for the deaths of three UPC members during a robbery outside Bambari on Monday, May 14.
Numerous Western governments have issued travel advisories following the deterioration of the security situation in CAR. On April 10, French diplomatic authorities issued a new travel advisory for CAR, advising their citizens to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. Also on April 10, US diplomatic authorities issued a security alert urging their citizens to avoid the PK5 neighborhood and the 7th arrondissement of Bangui. On April 12, the UK issued a travel advisory, advising against all nonessential travel to central Bangui, and against all travel to the rest of CAR.
CAR has suffered recurrent bouts of civil conflict since December 2013 which has led to hundreds of deaths, created almost 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), and pushed more than 500,000 people to seek refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Chad. Clashes between various armed groups continue to be reported on a regular basis despite the June 2017 signing of a ceasefire agreement between the CAR government and 13 out of the 14 rebel groups present in the country.
Individuals present in CAR are advised to monitor local developments, maintain a high degree of situational awareness, and remain vigilant for potential militant activity.
In general, a number of Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the east and northeast of the country for various security reasons, including the presence of armed groups and ongoing conflicts.