YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The UN refugee agency on Friday said it is concerned over violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) which has forced over 30,000 people to flee to neighboring countries.

Some 30,000 people fled into neighboring Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Republic of Congo. The UNHCR said tens of thousands more have been displaced inside the country.

“UNHCR is concerned about reports of human rights violations taking place inside CAR and urges governments in all neighboring countries to continue granting access to asylum and supporting local authorities to register new arrivals,” it said.

It said the people urgently need water, shelter, access to health, and adequate sanitation to stem the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.

Nearly a quarter of CAR’s population of 4.7 million was forcibly displaced by the end of 2020, including 630,000 refugees in neighboring countries and 630,000 displaced internally, according to the UNHCR.

Nationwide curfew

The UN statement came a day after the CAR’s President Faustin-Archange Touadera declared a nationwide night curfew following repeated armed attacks.

The situation in the CAR, a landlocked central African country, has been tense after the Constitutional Council rejected former President Francois Bozize’s candidacy for the Dec. 27, 2020 elections.

The former general seized power in a 2003 coup but was overthrown in a 2013 rebellion.

Several militia groups have since attacked civilians, armed forces, and UN peacekeeping forces.

Touadera, who has won a second term as president, has reiterated his commitment to peace.

Several opposition parties rejected the results of the Dec. 27 elections and called for their cancellation.

Senior officials from the UN and regional organizations have urged all political actors in the country to respect the poll results and settle any disputes peacefully and in accordance with the country’s laws.

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