Central African Republic Shaken after Government Shifts

SOS Children's Villages Central African Republic
A woman from the SOS Family Strengthening Program in Bangui, the Central African Republic. © Catherine Flore Ngo Biyack.

UPDATE: SOS Children's Villages Bangui looted by the Seleka rebel force. No children or SOS Mothers were harmed.

4/1/2013: On March 23, the Central African Republic capital of Bangui was overrun by Michel Djotodia and his followers, known as the Seleka group. Their entry into the capital city forced the exile of then-President Francois Bozize, with the Seleka claiming that former President Bozize had failed to keep his promises of power-sharing since he took over the CAR’s government in 2003.

Now, Michel Djotodia has named himself President of the Central Africa Republic and, in an effort to maintain a balanced government, has allowed civilian opposition representative Nicolas Tiangaye to retain his position as Prime Minister.

The violence precipitated by March’s coup left the city of Bangui on edge. More than 5,000 Seleka fighters overtook the capital, leading to looting and the loss of power and water throughout the city. Shootings, lootings of hospitals, and food shortages were commonplace. Sadly, 13 South African soldiers and an unknown number of civilians were killed during the takeover.

SOS Children's Villages Central African Republic
Brothers from the SOS Children's Village in Bangui, the Central African Republic. © Catherine Flore Ngo Biyack.
SOS Remains Operational

Thankfully, the children and staff of SOS Children’s Villages Bangui remained safe and unharmed throughout the fighting. They are remaining indoors and out of harm’s way, and have been working with local authorities and community members to ensure that the children, Mothers and staff remain secure. Lines of communication throughout Bangui have been difficult to establish, so it is uncertain whether any families who are supported by the Family Strengthening Programs were caught in the fighting.

The city is quiet, and a curfew has been imposed from dusk to dawn [the constitution has also been suspended by Mr. Djotodia]. Few shops remain open in Bangui, and many have been boarded for fear of looting. Schools, banks, pharmacies, and water suppliers remain closed and while markets are open for business, prices have already doubled. 

Our programs in the Central African city of Bouar have also been affected, as the Seleka group entered the area as of last week. The Seleka armed forces in Bouar have not been met with resistance, leaving the city calm and the SOS Families safe.

At Work in the Central African Republic for 20 Years

SOS Children’s Villages has been active in the Central African Republic since 1992. We care for 108 children in SOS Families in Bangui and support 1,014 beneficiaries through SOS Family Strengthening Programs. There is also an SOS Hermann Gmeiner School attended by 403 children, an SOS Kindergarten attended by 111 children and an SOS Medical Center for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The Central African Republic remains one of the world’s least developed countries with an estimated annual per capital income of only 800 dollars. Sponsor a child in the Central African Republic to give impoverished, orphaned children loving families.