According to UN sources, members of the Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice (MLCJ) and the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the CAR (FPRC) clashed in Birao (Vakaga prefecture) between Monday, January 20 and Tuesday, January 21. At least two people were killed in the incident, although the exact number of casualties remains unclear as of Friday, January 24. According to local aid workers, as of Thursday, January 23, the situation has calmed down within the town. Tension, however, remained high in the outskirts of the town.
A heightened security presence is to be anticipated in Birao in the near term; further clashes cannot be ruled out.
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 neighbouring Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Chad. Clashes between various armed groups continue to be reported, although a peace agreement between armed groups and the government was signed on February 6, 2019.
Individuals present in Birao 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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