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article imageAfrican states pull citizens from C.A.R. amid growing violence

By Karen Graham     Jan 5, 2014 in World
The continuing violence in the Central African Republic has caused many neighboring states to repatriate their citizens in recent weeks. What started as a trickle is now becoming a mass exodus, as deteriorating humanitarian conditions worsen.
Some African officials are calling the move a "precautionary measure," but whatever it's called, repatriating citizens of neighboring African states out of the C.A.R. has become a necessity as conditions continue to deteriorate in the war-torn country.
Mali's government chartered two planes to bring about 500 of its citizens out of the country on Sunday. Niger had already returned 150 of its citizens to their capital, Niamey, on Friday. Mali government spokesman, Mahamane Baby, said, "I can't say whether there were incidents of aggression against Malians, but most countries have now decided as a precaution to bring home their citizens."
By Friday, Senegal had repatriated more than 200 of their citizens, and Nigeria had rescued 365 Nigerian citizens from the capital city of Bangui, where they had been seeking shelter at the Nigerian Embassy. According to reports, there are around 29,700 Nigerians in the C.A.R. at this time.
Refugee camp in Bangui  C.A.R.
Refugee camp in Bangui, C.A.R.
UNHCR/B.Sokol
The deputy planning director of Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, Alhassan Nuhu, said, "The number will increase by the day and all those that are vulnerable will be evacuated. All those whose lives are in danger will be repatriated, and I think it will end as quickly as possible in 5-6 days."
The government of Chad has already repatriated over 12,000 of its citizens, using land convoys and emergency flights. Their numbers are more than any other countries, primarily because Christian forces have been targeting Chadians for supporting the rebel Selaka forces. Chad, of course, has vehemently denied this.
The Central African Republic has a history of instability of government, ever since its independence from France in 1960. Since then, there have been five coups. The latest disruption of power started in March of 2013, when rebel Selaka militia took control of the capital, Bangui, driving out the president.
The move prompted reprisal attacks from militias, and the violence in the country has continued to grow. France now has 1,600 troops in the country as a peace-keeping force, and an additional 4,000 African peacekeepers are also working to keep the peace.
A French newspaper reported on the results of a poll Saturday that shows public support for military intervention in the C.A.R. has declined, with only 41 percent supporting the peace-keeping operation.
The C.A.R.'s interim government, apparently not quite knowing what's going on, broadcast a plea on the state radio on Saturday, requesting that citizens return to work. "The country has fallen, and the national economy is at the bottom of an abyss - and that's why civil servants should go back to work as early as 6 January to boost the country," is the announcement that was repeatedly aired by Gaston Makozangba, the minister of public works.
More about Mali, Citizens, Africa, Violence, deteriorating
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