The death toll from fighting between rival militias near Bria (Haute-Kotto prefecture) has risen to at least 35 people as of Tuesday, January 28. According to officials, the total number of fatalities may be as high as 50, but some families had already buried their dead relatives before accurate figures could be determined. Over a dozen people were also wounded in the clashes. Hundreds of people also fled from their homes during the fighting. Additional UN peacekeepers and security personnel have deployed into the area to prevent further violence.
A heightened security presence is to be anticipated in Bria over 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 neighboring 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 Bria 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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