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General News of Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Source: sputniknews.com

Aid workers at risk in CAR, CMR amid Boko Haram threat - UN


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The United Nations has expressed concern for the safety of aid workers in the Central African Republic and Cameroon, where armed elements, including members of the Boko Haram militant group, continue to pose a security threat.

"In both of these countries, the lack of resources is hampering the aid response. We must regain broad donor attention. In the current worldwide context of multiple crises, the biggest threat to the vulnerable people in both countries is the neglect from the international community," UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

According to Kang, in 2014 there were nearly 140 security incidents directly targeting aid workers in the Central African Republic (CAR). Four humanitarian workers have been kidnapped since January 1, 2015.

"In spite of the notable progress made on the security and political fronts in the past year, the humanitarian situation in the CAR remains dire: more than 2.7 million people out of a population of 4.6 million require humanitarian assistance.

Half a million of them are still displaced within the country, with a further half million across the borders as refugees in neighboring countries," Kang said, stressing that the United Nations and its partners cannot provide effective assistance to civilians if the lines between armed elements and civilians in the country remain "entirely blurred in many displacement sites".

Meanwhile in Cameroon, aid workers' safety is hard to ensure because Boko Haram extremists continue to carry out attacks in the north of the country. "It is an extremely complicated environment for aid organizations to work in, especially as the humanitarian needs grow," Kang said.

Boko Haram was founded in 2002 with the aim of imposing sharia law on Nigeria. Since 2009, the group has expanded its activity across the northeast of the country, killing over 5,000 people, and displacing over a million.

The extremists have been most active on the Nigeria-Cameroon border, and many civilians have fled from northern Nigeria to Cameroon to escape violence.

Boko Haram has also launched attacks in Cameroon itself, as well as Niger and Chad.

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