Avoiding a CAR crash. Helping the Central African Republic avoid another catastrophe – | KAGO-BANDORO


The World Bank used to shun war zones. No longer

HOOPS of razor wire overlooked by guard towers mark the border between order and chaos in Kaga-Bandoro, a market town in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR). On one side are the ordered rows of white tents and shelters of the UN’s “Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic” (MINUSCA), a 13,000-strong peacekeeping force. On the other, huddling under the guns of the Pakistani battalion billeted here, are the tarpaulins that shelter some 12,000-15,000 people in one of the world’s newest refugee camps.

They have fled not once, but at least twice. Many had already sought safety in a nearby camp after their homes were destroyed. In October, however, the refugee camp was attacked and burned down by members of Seleka, the remnants of mostly Muslim militias which had toppled the government in 2013. “Six men were threatening me with knives,” says Paul Fradjala, the head of the local government in town, twisting and turning his shoulders to demonstrate how he wriggled free and ran. Yet even under the guns of the peacekeepers, security is illusory. “If someone kills someone in front of you, there is nothing you can do,” says Mr Fradjala of the crowded new camp that encircles the UN base.

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