According to local officials, at least 30 people were killed in clashes between militiamen and traders in Bangui on Thursday, December 26. The fighting erupted in the capital's PK5 district after traders refused to pay taxes levied by militia groups. In addition to the fatalities, some 40 to 50 shops in the district were burned down, along with several homes and vehicles. A rapid response force has reportedly been deployed to the area to reassert control, according to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected in Bangui over the coming hours and days.
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.
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.