Local authorities announced on Tuesday, February 18, that clashes between UN peacekeepers and armed militants of the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa (FPRC) left 12 militants dead in Birao (Vakaga prefecture) on Sunday, February 16. According to a government spokesman, FPRC militants attacked the town of Birao, then occupied by the rival militia Mouvement des libérateurs centrafricains pour la justice (MLCJ), before being repelled by UN peacekeepers.
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected in Birao 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 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.