Life-saving operations halted in the Central African Republic as rebels raid hospitals and aid agencies

International charities are being forced to curtail life-saving humanitarian operations in the Central African Republic’s second city after a series of rebel raids on hospitals and aid agencies.

The country’s commercial hub, Bambari, has witnessed increasingly intense clashes in recent weeks after a mostly Muslim rebel group, the UPC, launched a campaign to reoccupy the city.

A United Nations peacekeeper from Burundi was killed in a three-hour gun battle on Sunday, the latest rebel attack on UN positions in the town.

But it is last week’s raid by the UPC on Bambari’s main hospital that has triggered both panic in the city and both censure from aid agencies – even though the rebels merely threatened staff and patients, killing none.

Such threats, however, have foreshadowed attacks on…

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