At least 12,000 people have been displaced as of Tuesday, January 8, after ex-Séléka forces seized the mining town of Bakouma (Mbomou prefecture). According to local sources, the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC) attacked the town on Monday, December 31, burning down multiple buildings. Clashes between the FPRC and anti-balaka militias, who had been in control of the town for several years, left multiple people dead. On Sunday, January 6, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) announced it deployed personnel to the area to assist the internally displaced persons (IDPs). As of January 8, telecommunications outages continue to be reported in and around Bakouma. Further clashes are possible in Bakouma and throughout Mbomou prefecture in the coming days.
On December 14, several anti-balaka groups withdrew from a disarmament process, raising the possibility of increased violence in the Central African Republic (CAR). The groups cited the arrest of Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, a former anti-balaka leader, and other former militia members as evidence of bias in the peace process against the predominantly Christian militias.
CAR has suffered recurrent bouts of civil conflict since December 2012, which has led to hundreds of deaths and almost 700,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), and has 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. According to the UN, endemic violence is likely to trigger a famine in the medium term, with nearly 63 percent of the population already in need of emergency assistance.
Individuals present in CAR, particularly Mbomou, 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 most of the east of the country for various security reasons, including the presence of armed groups.
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