Potential Hot Spots: July 24, 2003


The Central African Republic (CAR) government dispatched troops to six "priority" towns across the country, in an effort to restore order. These towns were either in zones formerly held by fighters loyal to CAR leader Francois Bozze, or in areas previously isolated from Bangui where uncontrolled armed groups continue to terrorize the public, preventing those displaced by fighting from returning. The chaos has also hindered NGOs from conducting humanitarian operations. Truck drivers had even decided to stop supplying the town of Obo, 1,231 km east of the capital Bangui, as a protest against extortion by police and gendarmes in the region.

There have been some success stories. Displaced civilians returned to their homes, markets reopened and administration officials reported to their duty stations in the town of Sibut, 185 km northeast of Bangui. The police, gendarmerie and the army had already secured the town. Sibut was one of the towns that suffered the most during the October 2002-March 2003 fighting between Bozize's rebel troops and government forces. The town changed hands several times, with many of the hospitals and public buildings looted or destroyed. - Adam Geibel


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