South Africa has deployed up to 400 soldiers to the Central African Republic in a bid to help the government defeat a rebel advance. The Seleka rebels have claimed a series of victories in recent weeks after accusing the government of violating a 2007 peace accord. Several other African countries, including neighboring Chad, have sent troops to help fight the rebels. Speaking from the capital of Bangui, Ellen van der Velden of Doctors Without Borders said the Central African Republic’s turmoil marks a “silent crisis.”
Ellen van der Velden: “So far, we have labeled the crisis in the Central African Republic as a silent one because of the very poor health indicators that already existed surpassing crisis indicators, while at the same time there was very limited attention for this crisis. There is, even before the current crisis broke out, already very few development NGOs or support or business, and this country already — at the best of times, many people could have done with a lot of help, and that situation has only become more complicated.”
The Central African Republic is among the poorest countries in the world despite having deposits of gold, diamonds and uranium, which are mined by foreign interests.