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US warns citizens to leave violence prone Central African Republic

US warns citizens to leave violence prone Central African Republic

Central African Republic

The United States (US) has warned its citizens to avoid travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) citing unstable security and the high incidence of violent crimes.

A travel alert issued by the Department of State said the decision is necessary as a result of ‘‘an unpredictable security situation subject to rapid deterioration, activities of armed groups, and violent crime.’‘

‘‘We urge U.S. citizens who are currently in CAR to consider departing. U.S. citizens in CAR who require consular assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon,’‘ the statement said.

The US warned citizens that the need to leave was important because in the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures may occur with little or no notice.

The latest travel alert replaces an earlier one dated April 14, 2016. The US also noted that the potential for sectarian violence in the CAR remains high. Indiscriminate violence and looting has occurred in CAR since the overthrow of the government in March 2013.

Long-serving president, Francois Bozize was toppled by the northeastern Seleka rebel alliance, escalating revenge attacks and a spiral of atrocities leading to the death of thousands.

The Central African country had appeared to be returning to normal after two years of bloodshed, holding peaceful elections and a transition early this year following a visit by the Pope.

But despite the presence of thousands of UN peacekeepers and a few hundred remaining French troops, tensions remain high, and ten of thousands of people are still displaced. The violence between rival militias, which later on took a sectarian element, displaced one in 10 of the country’s 4.5 million people.

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