Several thousand people participated in a demonstration in Bangui on Monday, January 28, to protest the existing arms embargo imposed on the Central African Republic by the UN Security Council. According to local sources, the demonstration was held on place des Martyrs. Further associated demonstrations are possible in Bangui in the near term. A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are to be anticipated in the vicinity of any gathering.
In December 2013, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic, banning all import of weapons to the country (apart from supplies destined to the country's security forces with prior approval from the Security Council's sanctions committee). On January 31, the Security Council is expected to decide whether or not the embargo is renewed for another year.
The Central African Republic (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 local UN humanitarian coordinator, 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 Bangui, are advised to monitor local developments, maintain a high degree of situational awareness, and avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence.
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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