Clashes broke out between armed forces and a local self-defense group in the PK5 district of the capital Bangui on Thursday, November 22. At least four people were killed and 23 others injured in the exchange of fire. Tensions remain high in the area and further clashes are possible.
Tensions have risen significantly in Bangui following attacks that targeted a church and a mosque on May 1, leaving 24 people dead and more than 170 wounded. Numerous clashes had also broken out in the city in the preceding weeks, notably in the PK5 neighborhood. This was despite a series of security operations carried out by the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA in PK5 in April targeting Muslim self-defense militias at the request of local residents. In October, three people were killed in clashes between self-defense militias in the district.
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 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.